Entering the New City as Men and Women, Not Mules

  • Jessica Gordon Nembhard


W.E.B. Du Bois proposed that African Americans use “intelligent cooperation” and service for the “common good” as the guiding principles of economic development. Well known for his assertion that the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, Du Bois is less celebrated for his economic analyses of African American communities. Du Bois’s work as a sociologist, journalist, and political activist is much better known than his economic work. Even those who regard him as a “radical thinker” are usually unfamiliar with his application of cooperative economics as a solution to African American poverty and margin-alization. The statement, quoted above, delivered at the Rosenwald Economic Conference in 1933 aptly summarizes a position he continuously revisited and refined throughout the twentieth century.


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© Gayle T. Tate and Lewis A. Randolph 2006

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  • Jessica Gordon Nembhard

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