|HEREIN lie buried many things which if read
with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in
the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without
interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth
Century is the problem of the color-line.
| I pray you, then, receive my little book in all
charity, studying my words with me, forgiving mistake and foible for
sake of the faith and passion that is in me, and seeking the grain
of truth hidden there.
| I have sought here to sketch, in vague, uncertain
outline, the spiritual world in which ten thousand thousand
Americans live and strive. First, in two chapters I have tried to
show what Emancipation meant to them, and what was its aftermath. In
a third chapter I have pointed out the slow rise of personal
leadership, and criticised candidly the leader who bears the chief
burden of his race to-day. Then, in two other chapters I have
sketched in swift outline the two worlds within and without the
Veil, and thus have come to the central problem of training men for
life. Venturing now into deeper detail, I have in two chapters
studied the struggles of the massed millions of the black peasantry,
and in another have sought to make clear the present relations of
the sons of master and man.
| Leaving, then, the world of the white man, I have
stepped within the Veil, raising it that you may view faintly its
deeper recesses,the meaning of its religion, the passion of its
human sorrow, and the struggle of its greater souls. All this I have
ended with a tale twice told but seldom written.
| Some of these thoughts of mine have seen the light
before in other guise. For kindly consenting to their republication
here, in altered and extended form, I must thank the publishers of
The Atlantic Monthly, The World's Work, The Dial, The New
World, and the Annals of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science.
| Before each chapter, as now printed, stands a bar of
the Sorrow Songs,some echo of haunting melody from the only
American music which welled up from black souls in the dark past.
And, finally, need I add that I who speak here am bone of the bone
and flesh of the flesh of them that live within the Veil?
W. E. B. DU B.
ATLANTA, GA., Feb. 1, 1903.