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W.E.B. Du Bois’s John Brown: Placing Racial Justice at the Center of a Socialist Politics

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The Afterlife of John Brown
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Abstract

When a rival John Brown biographer asked for advice on sources, the young African American scholar William E.B. Du Bois wrote that his would not be a standard biography. Instead of an exhaustive investigation of new material, he would create “an interpretation” (Du Bois 1973, 9). Du Bois’s interpretation, written during the crucial five-year period coinciding with his Niagara Movement experiment, interrogates the nature of slavery—and all forms of labor—under laissez-faire capitalism. Du Bois made Brown a prescient critic of the monopoly distortions of the free market that were to shape post-Civil War race and class relations. Through writing his biography of John Brown, Du Bois clarified his own mission and strategy as an emerging race leader.

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© 2005 Andrew Taylor and Eldrid Herrington

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Husband, J. (2005). W.E.B. Du Bois’s John Brown: Placing Racial Justice at the Center of a Socialist Politics. In: Taylor, A., Herrington, E. (eds) The Afterlife of John Brown. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4039-7846-2_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4039-7846-2_10

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-99958-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4039-7846-2

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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