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The Negro   By: (1868-1963)

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W.E.B. Du Bois

New York: Holt, 1915

[Transcriber's Notes for e book versions:

Hyphenation and accentuation are inconsistent, but are generally left as found in the edition used for transcription. This edition may or may not have completely replicated the 1915 edition of the book. Where changes have been made, they are noted below. If you are using this book for research, please verify any spelling or punctuation with another source.

A missing quotation mark was inserted at the beginning of this paragraph: "It is difficult to imagine that Egypt should have obtained it from Europe where the oldest find (in Hallstadt) cannot be of an earlier period than 800 B.C., or from Asia, where iron is not known before 1000 B.C., and where, in the times of Ashur Nazir Pal, it was still used concurrently with bronze, while iron beads have been only recently discovered by Messrs. G.A. Wainwright and Bushe Fox in a predynastic grave, and where a piece of this metal, possibly a tool, was found in the masonry of the great pyramid."]


Preface I Africa II The Coming of Black Men III Ethiopia and Egypt IV The Niger and Islam V Guinea and Congo VI The Great Lakes and Zymbabwe VII The War of Races at Land's End VIII African Culture IX The Trade in Men X The West Indies and Latin America XI The Negro in the United States XII The Negro Problems Suggestions for Further Reading


The Physical Geography of Africa Ancient Kingdoms of Africa Races in Africa Distribution of Negro Blood, Ancient and Modern




The time has not yet come for a complete history of the Negro peoples. Arch├Žological research in Africa has just begun, and many sources of information in Arabian, Portuguese, and other tongues are not fully at our command; and, too, it must frankly be confessed, racial prejudice against darker peoples is still too strong in so called civilized centers for judicial appraisement of the peoples of Africa. Much intensive monographic work in history and science is needed to clear mooted points and quiet the controversialist who mistakes present personal desire for scientific proof.

Nevertheless, I have not been able to withstand the temptation to essay such short general statement of the main known facts and their fair interpretation as shall enable the general reader to know as men a sixth or more of the human race. Manifestly so short a story must be mainly conclusions and generalizations with but meager indication of authorities and underlying arguments. Possibly, if the Public will, a later and larger book may be more satisfactory on these points.


New York City, Feb. 1, 1915.

[Illustration: The Physical Geography of Africa]


"Behold! The Sphinx is Africa. The bond Of Silence is upon her. Old And white with tombs, and rent and shorn; With raiment wet with tears and torn, And trampled on, yet all untamed."


Africa is at once the most romantic and the most tragic of continents. Its very names reveal its mystery and wide reaching influence. It is the "Ethiopia" of the Greek, the "Kush" and "Punt" of the Egyptian, and the Arabian "Land of the Blacks." To modern Europe it is the "Dark Continent" and "Land of Contrasts"; in literature it is the seat of the Sphinx and the lotus eaters, the home of the dwarfs, gnomes, and pixies, and the refuge of the gods; in commerce it is the slave mart and the source of ivory, ebony, rubber, gold, and diamonds. What other continent can rival in interest this Ancient of Days?

There are those, nevertheless, who would write universal history and leave out Africa. But how, asks Ratzel, can one leave out the land of Egypt and Carthage? and Frobenius declares that in future Africa must more and more be regarded as an integral part of the great movement of world history. Yet it is true that the history of Africa is unusual, and its strangeness is due in no small degree to the physical peculiarities of the continent... Continue reading book >>

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