A Legendary Interview With W.E.B. Dubois | Teen Ink

A Legendary Interview With W.E.B. Dubois

January 5, 2009
By Anonymous

Interview with W.E.B. Dubois


W.E.B. Dubois appears somewhat aged; his wrinkles portray a degree of antiquated fatigue. His face reveals many hints of wisdom and experience, and his eyes tell stories of unimaginable wonder. Dubois is currently Eighty Three years of age at the time of our interview, 1951, but a cloak of energy and youthfulness is draped over him. I am Interviewing Mr. Dubois at the Langston Hughes House of Harlem, New York. I am interviewing W.E.B. Dubois today because I believe that this remarkable man’s words, wisdom, and legacy should not be confined to the monotonous margins of the High School text book, but they should be birthed into living color and forever engraved into American History.
Question One: Which activities do you enjoy taking part in during your free time?

Dubois: I have always delighted in the consumption of stimulating novels. Their tales of fantastic adventures and miraculous victories have captivated me ever since my childhood. These novels never failed to lift me out of my material world, where I was submerged in poverty, and delivered me to a better place in my mind. Books continue to take part in my schedule and they continue to awe me today.
Question Two: Were you ever discouraged by white aggression?

Dubois: I must be honest; I have been intimidated at some points in my life. I have been intimidated not by the Whites’ hostility, but by the thought of what our Nation will succumb to if democracy’s voice is silenced. I was never frightened by any vocal threats to my people, but I am always deathly afraid of Lady Liberties impending heart attack. I have not been startled by such oppression, but I knew that my ears should never be discouraged from yearning to hear the United Chorus in the song of American Equality. I continued to persevere through the wicked bigotry undaunted so that we may seize a more promising tomorrow.
Question 3: What do you believe in?

Dubois: I, of course, believe wholeheartedly in the fundamental premise of racial equality. Behind that, though, is my support for a strong family and its traditions. I was raised by two loving parents who instilled in me great morals, integrity, and standards. I also had a strong sense of tradition which brought me nearer with my family. I believe that if every child was raised how I was-upon the values of integrity, love, and morality- much of our Nation’s current hatred and gloom would be exterminated.

Question Four: What effect do you think the Harlem Renaissance will have on the American Perception of Blacks?

Dubois: When I picture the Renaissance, I remember the European Renaissance. I picture how Innovative Minds collaborated in crafting masterpieces of monumental value and greatness. I also remember how some of those artists were not recognized until their presence on this earth was gone.

I compare this with the Harlem Renaissance in that our Masterful Black Imaginations were composing Masterpieces inconceivable to the white mind. But the same fate was bestowed upon our Renaissance; only after the African American geniuses passed away did their brilliance become accepted. We were attempting to establish a new perception to the African American name; not of poverty, darkness, and misfortune, but of Prominence, Prosperity, and Intelligence; that we, too, have a voice, heart, and mind. And that we, too, are America.
Question Five: Do you have distrust toward the Oppressive White Man?

Dubois: I hold no grudge to my lighter skinned brother. I do not harbor malicious feeling to our white counterparts. I believe that their actions, lack thereof, and their sentiment toward our people is not a belief, but rather a disease. It is a disease which causes them to turn away from their Good Books to subsequently observe the concept of division, murder, and sin. It is a disease which decays the heart and hardens one’s love. The disease is highly contagious; being around others with this illness will cause it to fester in oneself. I do not blame the White Man for his detestation, for it is not his choice. It is a sickness. Nonetheless, I still do not trust him.
Question Six: Who was your inspiration?

Dubois: Those who have inspired me come from a world of unimaginable brutality and inhumane atrocity. Those who have inspired me toiled endlessly under the scorching heat of white oppression. These unfortunate people have given me a better outlook on live and their voice declared to me that I should not settle for mediocrity and that I should fight for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I acclaim my brothers and sisters, the African American Slaves, for all of my inspiration and success.
Question Seven: Will our Nation ever elect a Black President?

Dubois: I have faith that this Nation will elect a Black president. But this will not come easily. The Candidate would have to be far superior to any of his White rivals, for Blacks are tested under harsher scrutiny than others. This candidate would have to be intelligent, humble, serene, and charismatic, for the repulse of stereotypical belief may attempt to permeate the election. With this in mind, I do believe that someday, we will have an African American President.

Question Eight: How may we Achieve Racial Equality?

Dubois: We must first hold high standards for ourselves. We must internally amend our broken Heritage. I believe that scholarship and self-determination hold the key to the lock on racial equality.
Question Nine: How do you feel about Booker T. Washington and his Ideals?

Dubois: To be frank, there are some ideological differences between him and me. He believes in the submission to white dominance, then proving our fidelity is what we must do to achieve racial equality. Thus, I christened him the “Great Accommodator” for his subdominant efforts. Nonetheless, Booker T. Washington is an exceedingly intelligent man whose merits are comparable to my own. Although we express conflicting viewpoints toward the solution to our Nation’s Racial Dilemma, we are united by our brotherhood of being Black Advocates.
Question Ten: How do you wish to be remembered?

Dubois: I do not seek any fame or celebrity for my efforts and advocation. I merely wish to be seen as the upbeat tempo in the hymn of The black Movement. I wish to be remembered as one of the many valiant African Americans who confronted the ugly face of Racism. I hope that my words, teachings, and legacy will be forever cherished in the hearts of all Americans, and forever honored in our future Nation of equality.

The author's comments:
I am an African AMerican, 10th grade student intersted in History. I was inspired by the brilliance of the early 20th century Harlem Renaissance. I was particularly intrigued by the flourescent works of Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B Dubois.

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