Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
In this speech Du Bois presents current "facts and tendencies" that constitute the future struggle of African Americans. He traces the history of African American protest and resistance through the era of slavery and on into the pressing needs for enfranchisement and broader social and civil rights. In Du Bois' view, however, the most pressing problem facing African Americans is that "the economic organization of America may have fundamental injustices and shortcomings which seriously affect not only Negroes, but the world." He emphasizes the need for African Americans to align themselves with those worldwide who are fighting for better economic conditions, and not to mistake the accumulation of private wealth as progress. For example, he sites the widespread disparagement of socialized healthcare systems by African Americans as a troubling misinterpretation of what constitutes progress. He also believes that African Americans must take a larger interest in the peace movement. "We should measure the prosperity of a nation not by the number of millionaires but by the absence of poverty, the prevalence of health, the efficiency of public schools, and the number of people who can and do read worthwhile books."