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Bringing Together the Progressive and Accommodationist Camps: The Metaphorical Usage of the Biblical Exodus in W.E.B. Du Bois's Rhetoric

Yalçınkaya, Arzu Eylül

The Black Movement in early 20th century was divided into two main poles in terms of the methods they proposed in order to fight racial discrimination. Within this intra-race debate, W. E. B. Du Bois was seen as the leading figure in the progressive camp, which championed for the immediate attainment of the Black Peoples’ social, political and economic rights. The accommodationist camp, on the other hand, led by Booker T Washington, had a more compromising approach to existing social structures. This paper will take a critical look at the consistency of Du Bois’s progressive stance via an analysis of his usage of the narrative of the Exodus in his work “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” in The Souls of Black Folks, in particular by focusing on his use of certain concepts such as sand, water, cry and forty years journey. Though within these debates the biblical Exodus Narrative was a widely used metaphor to make an analogy with the struggle of the African-American people especially by the progressive camp, the purpose of this critical analysis will be to ascertain whether Du Bois had revealed any deviances in his stance through this narrative.

Citation/©: Yalçınkaya, A.E. (2021). Bringing Together the Progressive and Accommodationist Camps: The Metaphorical Usage of the Biblical Exodus in W.E.B. Du Bois's Rhetoric. Theosophia, 3, 1-12.
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