"MY EARLIEST MEMORIES OF WRITTEN WORDS ARE THOSE OF DU BOIS AND THE BIBLE" (LANGSTON HUGHES): FIRST EDITION OF W.E.B. DU BOIS' AUTOBIOGRAPHY, DUSK OF DAWN, 1940, IN THE ORIGINAL DUST JACKET
DU BOIS, W.E.B. Dusk of Dawn. An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept. New York: Harcourt, Brace, (1940). Octavo, original orange cloth, original dust jacket. $1800.
First edition of Du Bois' powerful autobiography that speaks to the "central thread of his life and work… the presence of the color line, what he prophesied in 1900 would be 'the problem of the 20th century,'" in original dust jacket. From the library of the wife of John Hope described by Du Bois in Dusk of Dawn as a "close friend" and President of Morehouse College from 1909 until his death in 1936.
"Du Bois was the most prolific and, arguably, the most influential African American writer of his generation… It is not his intoxication with words that marks his place in the history of great black public intellectuals… no, the novelty of his place in the black tradition is that he wrote himself to a power, rather than spoke himself to a power… First and last, Du Bois was a writer, a writer deeply concerned and involved with politics, just as James Baldwin was'" (Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois). Langston Hughes once said of him: "my earliest memories of written words are those of Du Bois and the Bible."
Du Bois "called this autobiography his response to an 'environing world' that 'guided, embittered, illuminated and enshrouded my life'" (Huggins, LOA). "In this brilliant book, he explained his role in both the African and the African American struggles for freedom, viewing his career as an ideological case study illuminating the complexity of the black-white conflict" (Encyclopedia Britannica). Du Bois will continue to stand as "a singular figure in American history. Arguably the central thread of his life and work was an engagement with the potential of American democracy and the presence of the color line, what he prophesied in 1900 would be 'the problem of the 20th century'" (Washington Post). Born in 1868, Du Bios was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard. In 2018, 50 years later, Colin Kaepernick was awarded Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois medal. "First Edition" on copyright page. Blockson 2745. Owner ink signature on both pastedowns of "Mrs. L.B. Hope," Lugenia Burns Hope, wife of John Hope, described in Dusk of Dawn by Du Bois as a "close friend since 1897." John Hope joined Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter as founders of the Niagara Movement to work for civil rights; he was also active in the succeeding organization, the NAACP, and became considered a national race leader. Hope served as President of Morehouse College from 1909 until his death in 1936, and in 1929 was selected as Atlanta University's first African-American president.
Book with light shelf-wear along lower edge, near-fine; scarce original dust jacket with edge-wear and rubbing, chip to rear panel, toning to spine, front panel bright. A very good copy with a nice provenance.