To date, there is not one scholarly essay exploring W.E.B. Du Bois’ publication of The Brownies’ Books. Our current understandings of gender, specifically Black masculinity, occlude our ability to see, much less understand, Black males as mothers or caregivers. Largely determined by our present caricatures of Black males, Black men were not thought to develop theories or programs for the development of the (raced) child. Present gender theory confines their efforts to politics. Drawing from the ethnological taxonomies of his day, the paper shows that Du Bois understood the Black race’s temperament through the “mother-right” and believed racial advancement occurred not through politics but through programs to develop race consciousness in Black children.
Article available through Philosophy Documentation Center, here.
Tommy J. Curry is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University and currently serves as the Executive Director of Philosophy Born of Struggle. Among his many essays are “Empirical or Imperial?: Issues in the Manipulation of Du Bois’ Intellectual Historiography in Kwame Anthony Appiah’s Lines of Descent,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 35: 1 –2 (2014), “Concerning the Under-Specialization of Race Theory in American Philosophy: An Essay Outlining Bibliographic Sources Addressing the Aforementioned Problem,” The Pluralist 5:1 (2010), and “Royce, Racism, and the Colonial Ideal: White Supremacy and the Illusion of Civilization in Josiah Royce’s Account of the White Man’s Burden,” The Pluralist 4:3 (2009).
Tommy J. Curry, “It’s for the Kids: The Sociological Significance of W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Brownies’ Books and Their Philosophical Relevance for our Understanding of Gender in the Ethnological Age,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 36:1 (2015), pp. 27–57.