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Nine decades later, W.E.B. Du Bois’s work faces familiar criticisms

“Black Reconstruction,” published against a backdrop of violence and segregation, met with a vitriolic reception. White writers leveled sharp-tongued critiques. Black journalists assessed the work favorably but with reservations. Despite the early criticism, over time “Black Reconstruction” came to be recognized as a towering analysis of American culture and an important work of history. Nonetheless, the book’s contribution to the understanding of American racism is, nearly 90 years after its publication, still subject to stale objections that echo those heard when it first hit bookstore shelves. Read more

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