Dubois Essay Talented Tenth

The Talented Tenth is a term that designated a leadership class of African Americans in the early twentieth century. They had the goal of establishing black colleges to train Negro teachers and elites.

It appeared in The phrase “talented tenth” originated in 1896 among Northern white liberals, specifically the American Baptist Home Mission Society.

They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature.

And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone.

They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency.

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They can be met in but one way,—by the breadth and broadening of human reason, by catholicity of taste and culture.

The larger humanity strives to feel in this contact of living Nations and sleeping hordes a thrill of new life in the world, crying, “If the contact of Life and Sleep be Death, shame on such Life.” To be sure, behind this thought lurks the afterthought of force and dominion,—the making of brown men to delve when the temptation of beads and red calico cloys.

The second thought streaming from the death-ship and the curving river is the thought of the older South,—the sincere and passionate belief that somewhere between men and cattle, God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro,—a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations, but straitly foreordained to walk within the Veil.

The conference activities provide an opportunity for young professionals to learn more about Greenville, and become more engaged in Greenville’s civic life and enjoy social activities around town like Artisphere, Downtown Alive, and Main Street Fridays!

The Talented Tenth Conference is the first event of its kind in Greenville and is designed to bring talented, young people of color from across the Greenville Region together and provide them with a unique opportunity to further their professional development.


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