The Conservation of Races
W.E.B. Du Bois
The United States of America, since its commencement, has been a “melting pot” of different nationalities. While the term melting pot sounds forthcoming, this is not the case in reality. Many times cultures collide due their differences in ideology, culture, and geographical proximity. Such culture clashes have marked the history of the United States. Race is usually thought of in the physical sense with difference in skin color, hair, facial features, and language. Although race usually follows along physical lines, it is much more far reaching and extends into the social and cultural beliefs. In the past, the dominant trend was to keep these beliefs separate, consequently increasing the feeling of racial unity and racism in society. History has shown us that man has used segregation as a method of not only keeping the peace, but also of keeping the purity of a race in tact. In 1897, an address to the Negro Academy entitled “The Conservation of Races,” W.E.B. Dubois states: “The question, then which we must seriously consider is this: What is the real meaning of Race; what has, in the past, been the law of race development, and what lessons has the past history of race development to teach the rising Negro people? I thought the caliber of Dubois’ intelligence and boldness to ask the question was compelling. Throughout this essay I will explore and illustrate how Dubois comes to answer the questions, which he asked his audience. I found it easier to dissect the complex question into three separate questions. First I will illustrate how Dubois defines race. Then I will pinpoint where the basis of the law of race development is formulated. Finally, he answers the question; what can lessons of past history of race development teach the rising Negro? W.E.B Dubois writes that he believes that the conservation of races is the cornerstone of keeping the Negro race pure and intact. Thus, for him, race preservation is not backed...
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