The Black Intellectual Tradition and the Myth of Objectivity

Brandon Byrd:

As Du Bois’s biographers have noted, that question became unavoidable on April 24, 1899. On that day, Du Bois walked along Mitchell Street towards downtown Atlanta. He carried a letter of introduction addressed to Joel Chandler Harris, an editor at the Atlanta Constitution. He also held a proposed editorial protesting the recent lynching of Sam Hose, a black farmhand accused of murdering his employer before raping the employer’s wife. Du Bois, familiar with the work of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett, knew that the charges were false. He would expose the truth: that Hose killed his employer in self-defense and had not raped the wife. He would demonstrate through objective research that Hose’s only “crime” was being black in America.