Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 337–358 | Cite as

Politics, Rights, and Spatiality in W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Address to the Country” (1906)

Articles

Abstract

Organized in 1905, the Niagara Movement opposed racial discrimination in the U.S.A. and promoted its goals and means for racial uplift. During its second meeting in 1906 at Harpers Ferry, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote the “Address to the Country,” which set forth a series of demands for political and civil rights, and also called for Congressional intervention to secure those rights. This paper explores the critical spatiality of race, politics, and rights that inheres within the “Address” so that one can better understand the nationalizing strategy advocated by the Niagara Movement. Such a strategy implicated spatiality both as an end goal that supported civil and political rights via dismantling segregation and other discriminatory spatial structures, and also as a means—a politics of scale—that expanded the scope of political struggles to national arenas.

Keywords

Race Civil rights Niagara movement Political rights Geographical scale 

References

  1. Adams, C. F. (ed). (1902). The national Afro-American council, organized 1898. Washington, D.C: C. F. Adams. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/lcrbmrp.t2501).Google Scholar
  2. Agrippa. (1787). Letter IV: 3 December 1787. In H. J. Storing (Ed.), The anti-federalist: An abridgment (pp. 234–236). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. [1985].Google Scholar
  3. Barber, J. M. (1906). The Niagara movement at Harpers Ferry. The Voice of the Negro, 3(10), 402–411.Google Scholar
  4. Branch, T. (1989). Parting the waters. NY: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  5. Branch, T. (1999). Pillar of fire: America in the king years 1963–65. NY: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  6. Brown v. Board of Education. (1954). 347 US 483.Google Scholar
  7. Brutus. (1787). Letter I: 18 October 1787. In H. J. Storing (Ed.), The anti-federalist: An abridgment (pp. 108–117). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. [1985].Google Scholar
  8. Calhoun, J. C. (1831). Address to the people of South Carolina. In J. S. Jenkins (Ed.), The life of John Caldwell Calhoun. New Orleans: Burnett & Bostwick. [1854].Google Scholar
  9. Calhoun, J. C. (1851). A disquisition on government and a discourse on the constitution and the government of the United States. In R. K. Crallé (Ed.), Works of John C. Calhoun, vol. 1. Charleston: Walker and James.Google Scholar
  10. Carby, H. (2000). Race men. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cooper, A. J. (1892). A voice from the South. Xenia: Aldine Printing House.Google Scholar
  12. Curry, M. R. (1996). On space and spatial practice in contemporary geography. In E. Carville, K. Mathewson & M. S. Kenzer (Eds.), Concepts in human geography (pp. 3–32). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  13. Dawson, M. C. (2001). Black visions: The roots of contemporary African-American political ideologies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Delany, M. R. (1852). The condition, elevation, emigration, and destiny of the colored people of the United States. Politically Considered. Philadelphia: S.n.Google Scholar
  15. Dickinson, J. (1801). The political writings of John Dickinson, Esq, vol. 2. Wilmington: Bonsal and Miles.Google Scholar
  16. Douglass, F. (1881). John Brown. An address by Frederick Douglass at the fourteenth anniversary of Storer College, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881. Dover, NH: Morning Star Job Printing House.Google Scholar
  17. Drake, S. C., & Cayton, H. R. (1945). Black metropolis: A study of Negro life in a Northern city. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Co.Google Scholar
  18. Draper, T. (1970). The rediscovery of Black Nationalism. NY: Viking.Google Scholar
  19. Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sanford. (1856). 60 U.S. 393.Google Scholar
  20. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1898). The Negroes of Farmville, Virginia; a social study. Bulletin of the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bulletin, 14, 1–38.Google Scholar
  21. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1899a). The Philadelphia Negro: A social study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. [1996].Google Scholar
  22. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1899b). The suffrage fight in Georgia. The Independent, 51(2661), 3226–3228.Google Scholar
  23. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1901). The Black North: A social study; some conclusions. New York Times Magazine Supplement (15 December 1901): SM20. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C0DE0DA173BE733A25756C1A9649D946097D6CF).
  24. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The souls of black folk. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co.Google Scholar
  25. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1904a). The future of the Negro Race in America. The East and the West, 2, 4–19.Google Scholar
  26. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1904b). The development of a people. International Journal of Ethics, 14(3), 292–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1905). The Niagara movement. The Voice of the Negro, 2(9), 619–622.Google Scholar
  28. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1906a). Address to the country. In L. D. Levering (Ed.), W.E.B. Du Bois: A reader (pp. 367–369). NY: H. Holt and Co. [1995].Google Scholar
  29. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1906b). The growth of the Niagara movement. The Voice of the Negro, 3(1), 42–45.Google Scholar
  30. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1907a). Niagara movement. General Secretary, A Brief Resume of the Massachusetts Trouble in the Niagara Movement. (Cleveland, Ohio, 1907 December). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-06-08.pdf).
  31. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1907b). Niagara Movement. General Secretary, Communication to the Niagara Movement Executive and Sub-Executive Committees. (Cleveland, Ohio, 1907 December). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-06-07.pdf).
  32. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1909). John Brown. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co.Google Scholar
  33. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1911). The Negro race in the United States of America. In Gustav Spiller (Ed.), Papers on inter-racial problems, communicated to the first universal races congress, held at the University of London, July 26–29, 1911 (pp. 348–376). London: P.S. King & Son.Google Scholar
  34. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1920). Darkwater: Voices from within the veil. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Howe.Google Scholar
  35. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1935). A Negro nation within the nation. In D. L. Lewis (Ed.), W.E.B. Du Bois: A reader (pp. 563–570). NY: H. Holt and Co. [1995].Google Scholar
  36. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1947). The world and Africa. NY: International. [1965].Google Scholar
  37. Du Bois, W. E. B., & Trotter, W. (1905). Declaration of principles. In P. Foner (Ed.), W.E.B. Du Bois speaks: Speeches and addresses, 1890–1919. NY: Pathfinder. [1970].Google Scholar
  38. Dwyer, O. J. (2000). Interpreting the civil rights movement: place, memory, and conflict. Professional Geographer, 52(4), 660–671.Google Scholar
  39. Federal Farmer. (1787). Letter II: October 9, 1787. In H. J. Storing (Ed.), The anti-federalist: An abridgment (pp. 39–43). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. [1985].Google Scholar
  40. Federalist Papers. (1987). The federalist papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. In I. Kramnick (ed.). NY. Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  41. Fletcher, K. (2006). The Niagara movement: The black protest reborn. Master of Arts Thesis, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Woman’s University. August.Google Scholar
  42. Forman, J. (1984). Self-determination: An examination of the question and its application to the African American People. Washington, DC: Open Hand.Google Scholar
  43. Giddings, P. J. (2008). Ida: A sword among lions: Ida B. Wells and the campaign against Lynching. NY: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  44. Giles v. Harris. (1903). 189 U.S. 475.Google Scholar
  45. Harpers Ferry Centennial Commemoration. (2006). Niagara movement at Harpers Ferry centennial commemoration, 1906–2006. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.nps.gov/archive/hafe/niagara/).
  46. Harvey, D. (1972). Revolutionary and counter revolutionary theory in geography and the problem of ghetto formation. Antipode, 4(2), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Haywood, H. (1948). Negro liberation. NY: International.Google Scholar
  48. Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States. (1964). 379 US 241.Google Scholar
  49. Herod, A. (1991). The production of scale in United States labour relations. Area, 23(1), 82–88.Google Scholar
  50. Hershaw, L. M. (1908). Letter to friend. (Washington, D.C., 1908 August 5). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-07-07.pdf).
  51. Hofstadter, R. (1989). The American political tradition and the men who made it. NY: Vintage. 1948.Google Scholar
  52. Howitt, R. (2002). Scale. In J. Agnew, K. Mitchell & G. O’Tuathail (Eds.), A companion to political geography (pp. 138–157). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  53. Jackson, P. (1989). Geography, race, and racism. In R. Peet & N. Thrift (Eds.), New models in geography: The political-economy perspective, vol. 2 (pp. 176–195). London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  54. James, J. (1996). The profeminist politics of W. E. B. Du Bois with respects to Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells Barnett. In B. Bell, E. Grosholz & J. B. Stewart (Eds.), W. E. B. Du Bois on race and culture (pp. 141–160). NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Johnson, C. S. (1944). Patterns of Negro segregation. London: Victor Gollancz.Google Scholar
  56. Keiter, L. M. (2006). Full manhood suffrage, henceforth and forever: Gendered rhetoric in the Niagara movement, 1905–1920. Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis for B.A. in History and Women’s Studies, Schreyer Honors College, The Pennsylvania State University. Summer.Google Scholar
  57. Kluger, R. (1976). Simple justice, the history of Brown v. board of education & Black America’s struggle for equality. NY: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  58. Latrobe, J. H. B. (1845). Memoir of Benjamin Banneker read before the Maryland historical society at the Monthly Meeting, May 1, 1845. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society.Google Scholar
  59. Lee, R. H. (1914). The letters of Richard Henry Lee. In J. C. Ballagh (ed.) vol. 2, (pp. 1779–1794). NY: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  60. Levy, L. (1999). Origins of the Bill of Rights. Yale U.P.Google Scholar
  61. Lewis, D. L. (1993). W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a race, 1868–1919. NY: Henry Holt & Company, Owl Books.Google Scholar
  62. Locke, J. (1963). Two treatises on government. In Edited by Peter Laslett. NY: Mentor, [1713].Google Scholar
  63. Lowi, T. (1984). Why is there no socialism in the United States: a federal analysis. International Political Science Review, 5(4), 369–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Madison, J. (1840). The papers of James Madison, Vol. II. Edited by Henry D. Gilpin. Washington, D.C.: Langtree & O Sullivan.Google Scholar
  65. Main, J. T. (1974). The anti federalists: Critics of the constitution, 1781–1788. NY: W.W Norton.Google Scholar
  66. Mann, R. (2007). When freedom would triumph: The civil rights struggle in congress, 1954–1968. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
  67. McDonald, F. (1985). Novus Ordo Seclorum: The intellectual origins of the constitution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  68. McDowell, L. (1999). Gender, identity and place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  69. McMurry, L. (2000). To keep the waters troubled: The life of Ida B. Wells. NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Mebane, G. A. (1900). “The Negro problem” as seen and discussed by southern white men in conference at Montgomery, Alabama. NY: Alliance Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  71. Meier, A. (1966). Negro thought in America, 1880–1915: Racial ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  72. Miller, Z. 1989. Race-ism and the city: The young Du Bois and the role of place in social theory. American Studies, 30:2 (Fall): 89–102. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/amerstud/article/view/2473/2432).
  73. Muhammad, E. (1997). Message to the Blackman in America. Atlanta: Messenger Elijah Muhammad Propagation Society.Google Scholar
  74. Nahal, A., Matthews, L. D., Jr. (2008). African American women and the Niagara movement, 1905–1909. Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, (July). Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SAF/is_2_32/ai_n27967726/?tag=content;col1).
  75. National Afro-American Council. (1898). Constitution and by-laws of the national Afro-American council: Organized at Rochester, New York, September 15th, 1898. NY: Edgar Printing & Stationery Co. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/lcrbmrp.t1203).Google Scholar
  76. Nelson, P. D. (2002). Fredrick L. McGhee: A life on the color line, 1861–1912. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society.Google Scholar
  77. New York Times. (1906). Negroes want equal rights: The Niagara movement Issues an Address to the Country. 20 August 1906 (Monday): 4.Google Scholar
  78. Newton, H. P. (1974). Revolutionary suicide. With J. Herman Blake. NY: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  79. Niagara Movement. (1906a). Women and the Niagara movement. (S.l., 1906). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-02-12.pdf).
  80. Niagara Movement. (1906b). Women and the Niagara movement, Circular No. 2. (S.l., 1906). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-02-13.pdf).
  81. Niagara Movement. (1908). Niagara Movement (Oberlin, Ohio, 1908 September). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Library Archives. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/digital/dubois/312.2.839-08-03.pdf).
  82. Norrell, R. (2009). Up from history: The life of Booker T. Washington. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Paine, T. (1908). Dissertation on first principles of government. In M. D. Conway (Ed.), The writings of Thomas Paine, Vol. III. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. [1795].Google Scholar
  84. Peake, L., & Schein, R. (2000). Racing geography into the new millennium: Studies of ‘race’ and North American geographies. Social & Cultural Geography, 1(2), 133–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Peet, R. (1985). The social origins of environmental determinism. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 75(3), 309–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Plessy v. Ferguson. (1896). 163 U.S. 537.Google Scholar
  87. Powledge, F. (1991). Free at last? The civil rights movement and the people who made it. NY: Little Brown & Co.Google Scholar
  88. Quarles, B. (2001). Allies for freedom and Blacks on John Brown. Cambridge: Da Capo. [1974].Google Scholar
  89. Ransom, R. C. (1906). The spirit of John Brown. The Voice of the Negro, 3(10), 412–417.Google Scholar
  90. Rice, C. P. (2005). Association for the study of African-American life and history, The Niagara movement: Black protest reborn (pp. 37–46). Washington, D.C: ASALH.Google Scholar
  91. Rose, H. (1971). The Black ghetto: A spatial behavioral perspective. NY: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  92. Rudwick, E. M. (1957). The Niagara movement. Journal of Negro History, 42(3), 177–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Schäfer, A. (2001). W.E.B. Du Bois, German social thought, and the racial divide in American progressivism, 1892–1909. Journal of American History, 88, 925–949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Schattschneider, E. E. (1975). The semisovereign people. NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  95. Schecter, P. A. (2001). Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American reform, 1880–1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  96. Schulman, B. J. (1995). Lyndon B. Johnson and American liberalism. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  97. Self, R. (2000). To plan our liberation: black power and the politics of place in Oakland, California, 1965–1977. Journal of Urban History, 26(6), 759–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Shelley v. Kraemer. (1948) 334 US 1.Google Scholar
  99. Sweatt v. Painter. (1950). 339 US 629.Google Scholar
  100. Terrell, M. C. (1898). The progress of colored women. Washington, D.C: Smith Brothers, Printers. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/lcrbmrp.t0a13).Google Scholar
  101. The Southern Manifesto. (1956). Congressional record, 84th congress second session, Vol. 102, part 4 (pp. 4459–4460). Washington, D.C: GPO. March 12, 1956.Google Scholar
  102. Tolnay, S. E. (2003). The African American ‘Great Migration’ and beyond. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 209–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Tuan, Y.-F. (1977). Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  104. Ture, K., & Hamilton, C. V. (1992). Black power: The politics of liberation. With new afterwords by the authors. NY: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  105. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives. (2008). Black Americans in congress, 1870–2007. 107th Congress, H. Con. Res. 43, House Document 108–224. Washington: GPO.Google Scholar
  106. Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government. (1963). Civil rights and legal wrongs: A critical commentary upon the president’s pending ‘civil rights’ bill of 1963. August. Retrieved 29 June 2009 (http://www.apstudent.com/ushistory/docs1951/crlegal.htm).
  107. von Holst, H. E. (1892). John C. Calhoun. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co.Google Scholar
  108. Wilson, B. M. (2002). Critically understanding race-connected practices: a reading of W.E.B. Du Bois and Richard Wright. Professional Geographer, 54(1), 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. Woodson, C. G. (1918). A century of Negro migration. Washington, D.C.: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceBennett CollegeGreensboroUSA

Personalised recommendations