Review: The Talented Tenth, by W. E. B. Du Bois, on GED Lesson Plan Set Day 49/67  

     This essay came as a bit of a shock, given how much my Pre-Engineering classmates and I were told that we had a responsibility, as part of the talented tenth, to give back to the community. The phrase was also part of my grandparents’ generational idea of Black uplift, and being “a credit to the race.” So, seeing just how men-only and elite focused this work is should never have shocked me, but it did. Every school assembly started/ended with a reminder of the Dunbar legacy, in DC, and Lift Every Voice and Sing, as a reminder that we had a duty to give back, and to lead. But it was never this strikingly clear just how elitist that idea could be, until I finally read the essay that popularized the phrase, but which I was again shocked to learn that Du Bois did not originate. Nevertheless, much of what he said remains valid, even to this day, sadly.  Especially what he says about the need for rigorous education, but I would extend that need to all citizens, more especially in the area of local financial debt laws, which Day 49 aims at in part.

Just a few of his comments, and mine, as I read the essay (via The Internet Archive):
“There can be but one answer : The best and most capable of their youth
must be schooled in the colleges and universities of the land. ”

No, this is not current popular grass-roots ideology, but is it true that anyone can do quantum physics? Every person capable of grasping higher concepts must be encouraged to do so, for the benefit of all human potential.

47.62% ” …it placed before the eyes of almost every Negro child an attainable ideal. ”

On the importance of teachers as role models…

59.52% ” Negro teachers have
been discouraged by starvation wages and the
idea that any training will do for a black

This includes the still low expectations for us by most white people.
Even to this day.

Pretty abrupt end to the essay, and it makes a devastating point.
Please read it.


Action Items:

1.) Share your thoughts, please.

2.) Write a story, post or comment that uses those thoughts.


Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector, Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist, and El Ministerio del Tiempo Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.  This review is my personal way (as opposed to founding the Project, overall) of contributing to building tools that can help increase empathy and compassion in our world.  Story, as part of how we see our world, helps us make sense of and define our actions in this world.  And remember how important story is also as part of this project. Let’s Do Better.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS


Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


22 thoughts on “Review: The Talented Tenth, by W. E. B. Du Bois, on GED Lesson Plan Set Day 49/67  

    1. Good points, and I am still pondering how to deal with keeping my HiSET/GED lesson posts alive without either reposting duplicate titles every year, or pulling other Sunday posts off topic, although education goes perfectly with this post. It does still sort of divide the attention, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

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