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W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices (1996)

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Toni Cade Bambara
W.E.B. Du Bois ...
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11 September 1996 (Canada)  »

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A life from behind the veil
1 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The mere anticipation of Louis Massiah, Jr. making a film about Black genius par excellence W.E.B. Du Bois was too much. The excitement was worth the wait. To place Toni Cade Bambara (whose prose is breathtaking) as one of the four voices, was a brilliant idea. Bambara's passing was a tremendous loss. The film steadily draws the viewer into Du Bois' life. Before you know it, surrender to the narrative is total. Growing up in a middle-class family in rural Western Massachusetts, Du Bois went on to study at Harvard. All the while he was writing, writing uncannily prescient essays about the present and the *future* of Black people inhabiting white space. The film demonstrates this sociologist's broad internationalist perspective and the way his thoughts about the 'future of the race' were at least a century ahead of his time. I could go on, but suffice it to say that the Black man who prefigured 'Black psychology' by describing African Americans' 'double consciousness' is represented with tremendous respect in this film. *Any* 'Introduction to Black History' cannot ignore this film nor the writing of Du Bois.


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