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Colored WhiteTranscending the Racial Past$
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David Roediger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233416

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233416.001.0001

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Nonwhite Radicalism: Du Bois, John Brown, and Black Resistance

Nonwhite Radicalism: Du Bois, John Brown, and Black Resistance

(p.96) (p.97) 6 Nonwhite Radicalism: Du Bois, John Brown, and Black Resistance
Colored White

Bois Du

Brown John

Resistance Black

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the heroism of John Brown and the political maturity of the larger abolitionist movement in responding to the language regarding slavery used by white labor and by members of the women's movement both of which reflected such influences. The heroism Du Bois captured came from Brown's participating in a specifically African American abolitionism. As Du Bois showed, Brown's commitment to struggling alongside Black freedom fighters did not partake of a sentimentalism that would make him “blind to their imperfections.” Brown's life and death have long been of tremendous importance in informing and inspiring the actions of so-called traitors to the white race. The chapter states that the slave system executed dozens of whites for real and alleged acts of solidarity with slave rebels during the year after Brown's death.

Keywords:   John Brown, Du Bois, heroism, African American abolitionism, white race, slave system, black resistance

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