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Darkwater Voices from Within the Veil   By: (1868-1963)

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Voices from within the Veil


Originally published in 1920 by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York.


May 12, 1896


These are the things of which men think, who live: of their own selves and the dwelling place of their fathers; of their neighbors; of work and service; of rule and reason and women and children; of Beauty and Death and War. To this thinking I have only to add a point of view: I have been in the world, but not of it. I have seen the human drama from a veiled corner, where all the outer tragedy and comedy have reproduced themselves in microcosm within. From this inner torment of souls the human scene without has interpreted itself to me in unusual and even illuminating ways. For this reason, and this alone, I venture to write again on themes on which great souls have already said greater words, in the hope that I may strike here and there a half tone, newer even if slighter, up from the heart of my problem and the problems of my people.

Between the sterner flights of logic, I have sought to set some little alightings of what may be poetry. They are tributes to Beauty, unworthy to stand alone; yet perversely, in my mind, now at the end, I know not whether I mean the Thought for the Fancy or the Fancy for the Thought, or why the book trails off to playing, rather than standing strong on unanswering fact. But this is alway is it not? the Riddle of Life.

Many of my words appear here transformed from other publications and I thank the Atlantic , the Independent , the Crisis , and the Journal of Race Development for letting me use them again.

W.E. BURGHARDT DU BOIS. New York, 1919.




I. THE SHADOW OF YEARS 3 A Litany at Atlanta 14

II. THE SOULS OF WHITE FOLK 17 The Riddle of the Sphinx 30

III. THE HANDS OF ETHIOPIA 32 The Princess of the Hither Isles 43

IV. OF WORK AND WEALTH 47 The Second Coming 60

V. "THE SERVANT IN THE HOUSE" 63 Jesus Christ in Texas 70


VII. THE DAMNATION OF WOMEN 95 Children of the Moon 109

VIII. THE IMMORTAL CHILD 114 Almighty Death 128

IX. OF BEAUTY AND DEATH 130 The Prayers of God 145

X. THE COMET 149 A Hymn to the Peoples 161


I believe in God, who made of one blood all nations that on earth do dwell. I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying through time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development.

Especially do I believe in the Negro Race: in the beauty of its genius, the sweetness of its soul, and its strength in that meekness which shall yet inherit this turbulent earth.

I believe in Pride of race and lineage and self: in pride of self so deep as to scorn injustice to other selves; in pride of lineage so great as to despise no man's father; in pride of race so chivalrous as neither to offer bastardy to the weak nor beg wedlock of the strong, knowing that men may be brothers in Christ, even though they be not brothers in law.

I believe in Service humble, reverent service, from the blackening of boots to the whitening of souls; for Work is Heaven, Idleness Hell, and Wage is the "Well done!" of the Master, who summoned all them that labor and are heavy laden, making no distinction between the black, sweating cotton hands of Georgia and the first families of Virginia, since all distinction not based on deed is devilish and not divine... Continue reading book >>

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