H́nh ảnh trang

Alnitan blood." So say the publishers or the author.

Hint this in mutrageously untrue. Once upon a time Dr. Du Bois held a sort of spiritual primacy among The Talented Tenth, 110t at all comparable to that of Booker Washington in scope, but vital and compelling for all that. The power of that leadership, however, instead of increasing since Mr. Washington's death, has decreascal, and is now openly flouteed by the most active and outspokeni members of The Talented Tenth in Negro America, And, outside of the twelve or lifteen millions of African blood" in the United States, the mass of that race in South and West Africa, Egypt and the Philippines know, unfortunately, very little of Dr. Du Bois. It may be, however, that this is merely a publishers' rhodomontade.

And it is the publishers themselves who challenge for this volume a comparison with "The Souls of Black Folk," which was published by McClurg in 1903. It is regrettable that they should force the issue, for "The Souls of Black Folk" is a greater book than "Darkwater" in many ways. In the first place, its high standard of craftsmanship is maintained through every chapter and page. There are no fag-ends, as in the chapter "Of Beauty and Death" in the present volume, where the rhetoric bogs down, the author loses the thread of his purpose and goes spicling off into space, spinning a series of incongruous purple patches whose tawdry glitter shows the same reversion to crude barbarism in taste which leads a Florida fieldhand to don ppal-colored trousers, a pink tie, pari-colored shirt and yellow shoes. Artistically, that chapter is an awful thing, and I trust that the author is artist enough to be ashamed of it.

And, though it may savor of anti-climax, “The Souls of Black Folk" was more artistically “gotten" up-to use the grammar of its author. "Darkwater" is cheaply bound and cheaply printed on paper which is almost down to the level of the Sca. side Library. Neither in mechanical nor mental quality dock the book of 1920 come up to the level of that of 1903.

Yet, in spite of some defects, "Darkwater" (with the exception of chapters six, scven, right and nine) is a book well worth reading. It is a collection of papers written at different times, between 1908 and 1920, and strung loosely on the string of race. One wishes that the author could have included his carlier essay on The Talented Tenth and his address on the aims and ideals

of modern cducation, delivered some twelve years ago to the colored school children of Washington, D. C.

Each paper makes a separate chapter, and cach chapter is followed by a rhetorical sprig of symbolism in prose or versc in which the tonc-color of the proceeding piece is made manifest: to the reader. Of thesc tone-poems in prose and verse, the best are the Credo; A Litany at Atlanta ; The Riddle of the Splinx, and Jesus Christ in Texas. In these the lyrical quality of the author's prose is listed to high levels. In these clegance does not slop over into turgid declamation and rhetorical claptrapwhich has become a common fault of the author's recent prose as shown in The Crisis. In this, the first part of the bouk, the work is genuire and its rhetoric rings truc. Nevertheless, the sustained artistic swing of "The Souls of Black Folk," which placed that work (as a matter of form and style) on the level of Edgar Saltus' Imperial Purple-this is not attained in "Darkwater."

The book may be said to deal largely with the broad international aspects of the problem of the color line and its reactions on statecraft, welt-politik, international peace and international trade, industry, education and the brotherhood of man. Each chapter, or paper, is devoted to one of these reactions. Then there is a charming autobiographical paper, "The Shadow of Ycars," which first appeared in The Crisis about three years ago, in which we have the study of a soul by itself. The growth of the author's mind under the bewildering shadow cast by the color line is tragically set forth. I say tragically with deliberation; for what we see here, despite its fine disguise, is the smoldering resentment of a mulatto who finds the beckoning white doors of the world barred on his approach. One senses the thought that, if they had remained open, the gifted spirit would have entered and inadc his home within them. Mais, chacun a son gout, and no one has the right to quarrel with the author on that doubtful scorc.

In the chapter on "The Souls of White Folk" we have a fine piece, not so much of analysis, as of exposition. The author puts his best into it. And yet that best scems to have failed to bite with acid brutality into the essential front of the white inan's soul. For the basic elements of that soul are Ilypocrisy, Greed and Cruelty. True, the author brings this out; but lie doesn't burn it in. The indictment is presented in terms of an appeal to shocked sensibilities and a moral sense which cxists, for the white man, only in print; whereas it might have been made in other terms which come nearer to his self-love. Nevertheless it is umanswerable in its logic.

In "The Hands of Ethiopia," as in "The Souls of White Folk," we catch the stern note of that threat which (disguise it as our journals will), the colored races are making, of an ultimate appeal ini terins of color and race to the white man's only Godthe God of Irmed force. But the author never reaches the height of that newer thought-all international alliance of Black, Brown and Yellow against the arrogance of White.

In "Work and Wealth" and "The Servant in the House" the problems of work and its reward, and the tragedy of that reward, are grippingly set forth in relation to the Negro in America and in the civilized world. "The Ruling of Men" is followed by three papers of very inferior merit and the book ends with a fantastic short story, "The Comet" which, like "The Coming of Jol" in "The Souls of Black Folk," suggests that Dr. Du Bois could be a compelling writer of this shorter form of fiction. The lonch in this story of incident is light, but arresting.

Dr. Du Bois, in the looseness of phrase current in our time in America, is called a scholar - on what grounds we are not informned. But Dr. Du Bois is not a scholar: his claim to conwirleration reste tipon a different basis, but one no less high. And when the Negro culture of the next century shall ussay the products of our own it will seem remarkable that this supreme wizard of words, this splendid literary artist, should have left his ownt dementie to claim the crown of scholarship. Surely, there is honest creclit chouxh in being what he is, our foremost mait of culture. And this "Darkwater," despite its lapses froin artistic grace, helps to rivet his claim to that consideration. It is a book which will well repay reading.

The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy.

By Lothror Stoddard. About ten years ago Mr. 13. I.. l'utmam Wente in "The Conflict of Color" tried to open the eyes of the white men of the world to the fact that they were acting as their own grave diggers,

[ocr errors]

About the same time. Mr. Melville E. Stunc, puresirloint of the Associated Press, in an address before the Quill Club 01. "Racc Prejudice in the Far East" reinforced the same grisly truth. Five years later "T. Shirby Hodge“ wrote "The White Man's Burden : A Satirical Forecast," and ended it with these pregnant words: "The white man's burden is--himself." His publishers practically suppressed his book, which, by the way, should have been in the library of cvery intelligent Negro. The white world was indisposed then to listen to its voices of warning. But today the physical, economic and racial ravages of the World War have so changed the white world's mind that within four weeks of its appearance “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy," by Lothrop Stoddard, has struck the bull's-eye of attention and has already become the most widely talked-of book of the year. White men of power are discussing its facts and its conclusions with bated breath and considerable disquietude.

Here is a book written by a white man which causes white men to shiver. For it calls their attention to the writing on the wall. It proves that the white race in its mad struggle for dominion over others has been exhausting its vital resoures and is exhausting them further. It proves to the hilt the thesis advanced in 1917 in my brief essay on "The White War and the Colored Races" that, whereas the white race was on top by virtue of its guns, ships, money, intellect and masscd man-power, in the World War was busy burning iip), depleting and destroying these very resources on which its primacy depended. But even though the white capitalists knew all this their mad greed was still their master. This great race is still so low spiritually that it sells even its racial integrity for dollars and cents. Mr. Stoddard's book may disturb its sense of security for a brief space, but It cannot keep white "civilization" from its mad dance of death. "What shall it profit a man he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" And the white racc will finally find that this is even more truc racially than individually.

We have noticed for many years that whereas domestic jour. nalism was merely journalism-the passing register of parochial sensations-the journalism of the international publicists like Lord Bryce, Meredith Townsend, Archibald Colquhoon, Putnam Wcale and Hyndman was something more solid than journaliam. Jor the writings of these men hard fact and stark reality, are

wicheleed to stile calling and lead thinking thies ne the real wcial scientists rather than the stat it loone, cloistered sociale Hints will prestiming to know i'verything. lave seent nothing The prexerit volume is one of the best of the former and is full of the qualities of its class. Here at the very outset it suffers from thie unwelcome assistance of Dr. Madison Grant, "chairman of the New York Zoological Society and trustee of the American Musctim of Natural History," Dr. Grant has accumulated a large stuck of musty ethnological ideas of which he unburdens hingeli in what he evidently intends as a "learned" introduction, without which freightage the book would be much bedler. The difference in value and accuracy between Mr. Stoddard's text and the poseudo scientific introduction of Dr. Girant would furnish fair material for philosophic satire. Unfortunately we cannot indulgr the inclination in the columns of a weekly newspaper,

Dr. (irant, in owlisht innocence, splutters out the usual futile fully which (in other domains) has brought the white race to the frontiers of the present crisis. He reads back into history the racial values of today and trails the Anglo-Saxon's crass conceit und arrogance across the pages of its record, finding "c011 frant of mental and spiritual endowinients

clusive of Retinitinei," and other racial clap trap whose falsity has been demonstrated again and again by warm bacarted enthusiasts like Joan finne and coldly critical and scientific scholars like Dr. Taylor ("Origins of the Aryans"), Sergi ("The Melliterranean Race") and J. M. Robertson ("The Evolution of States"). But one can forgive Dr. Grant; he is a good American, and good Americans (especially "scientists” on race) are usually fifty years behind the English, who, in turn, are usually twenty years behind the Germans. Dr. Grant's annexation of the past history of humani culture to the swollen record of the whites sounds wood-event if it smells bad. And he is in good Anglo-Saxon company. Sir Harry Johnston does the same thing and gets titles (scientific and other) by so doing. The Englishman takes the very Egyptinns, Hindus and tribal Liberinns, whom he would ca11 "niggers" in New York and London, and as soon as he finds that they have done anything worth while he tags them with a "white" tag. Thus, to the professional "scientist" ilke Dr. Grant, living in the parochial atinosphere of the United States, science is sumething arcane, recondite and off the carth; while to the

« TrướcTiếp tục »