February 26 , 2010

Du Bois on Religion


W.E.B. Du Bois shaped 20th century America to an extent rivaled by few others. The first black to receive a Ph. D. from Harvard, he helped create the discipline of sociology and was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Martin Luther King, Jr. called Du Bois 'a gifted discoverer of social truths.' But until now little academic attention has been paid to his insights on religion or to how religious commitments shaped his views of race, rights and justice. Phil Zuckerman here gathers together Du Bois's writings on religion, and makes a compelling case for Du Bois to be recognized among the leading sociologists of religion. Du Bois on Religion includes selections from his well-known works such as The Souls of Black Folks to poems, prayers, stories and speeches less widely available. Brief, helpful introductions preface each of the twenty-six selections. Also, a general introduction traces Du Bois's move from church-attending Christian to relentless critic of religion and evaluates Du Bois's contributions to the study of religion. Du Bois on Religion is an important text for sociologists or for anyone interested in the history of race and religion in the United States.
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