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W. E. B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk$
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Stephanie J. Shaw

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780807838730

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469609676_Shaw

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“The Talented Tenth” Revisited

“The Talented Tenth” Revisited

(p.61) 3 “The Talented Tenth” Revisited
W. E. B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk

Stephanie J. Shaw

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the theory of “The Talented Tenth” introduced by William Burghardt Du Bois in 1903 to discuss the role of group leadership among black Americans at the time. He introduced this theory to urge the majority white population to support black people and allow them to realize their dream of higher education so that at least ten percent of the community would emerge as leaders. The chapter also finds that the publication of The Souls of Black Folk in 1903 garnered considerable support for this idea. Scholars have considered the theory to be conservative despite its emphasis on higher education for black people. It was presented as an important principle of Du Bois.

Keywords:   group leadership, black Americans, white population, higher education, theory

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