Thursday, December 08, 2016

'Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois' by Gerald Horne (2000)

Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois (New York University, 2000). Fascinating and well-researched biographical study of Shirley Graham (1896-1977), composer, playwright, writer, human rights activist, and second wife of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963).
Horne's work stirred up my interest in the anti-establishment scene, especially during the 1940s and 1950s period. Here's a page from Shirley Graham Du Bois' FBI files, labeling her and W.E.B. Du Bois as "colored." Click to see the whole image, as necessary.
What could be a more "Un-American Activity" than a cultural and scientific conference for world peace?  

Harassment, both formal and informal -- including withholding of travel documents and clandestine rifling through living spaces -- by overzealous members of government agencies, etc., actually led Shirley to become more radical as she matured. She became a communist, in fact (in her late forties), inspiring her husband to do the same (in his eighties), and together they moved to Ghana, where they were visited by influential people from all over the world.
Shirley Graham Du Bois and Malcolm X in Ghana (1964)
Over time, Shirley Graham Du Bois tilted away from Soviet accolades toward Red China; top Chinese leaders fêted her and provided medical support. 

The pathetic state of race relations in the United States made race as well as class powerful wedge issues inside the US and globally -- as they continue to be in the 21st century. 

Gerald Horne's Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois serves as a needed specific chronicle in support of universal consciousness raising. 

Today's Rune: Partnership. 

Note: Unsure of the provenance of the last photo, but another copy of It can be found here

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always wished that my friend, Du Bois Williams, would write her memoirs. She's had offers. Very interesting woman.