Hell to Pay: Aristotle and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Vision of Democracy in ‘Of the Ruling of Men’

  • Harriet FertikEmail author

In ‘Education and Work’, an address delivered at Howard University in 1930, W. E. B. Du Bois reviewed his famous dispute with Booker T. Washington over the priorities of education for African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century. This speech aimed to synthesize the case for the liberal arts (with which Du Bois had long been identified) with arguments for technical and industrial training. Du Bois offers stringent criticisms of the colleges of the day: at one point in the speech, he asks ‘are we to stick to the old habit of wasting time on Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and eschatology’ rather than training students ‘who can do what the world today wants done; who can help the world know what it ought to want done, and thus by doing the world’s work may well invent better work for a better world’?1At another moment, however, Du Bois slyly undermines the opponents of liberal education and classical learning, describing their stance with typical panache: ‘Fill the heads of these...



I received valuable comments and suggestions from the anonymous reviewers for the journal, and also from audiences at the University of New Hampshire, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the 2016 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies. I am also grateful to Mathias Hanses for his generous reading and re-reading of this essay.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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