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42 To his credit, Du Bois never lost sight of the racist tendencies in the white working class and deftly used his knowledge of the past when elaborating his scheme of consumer cooperatives. He knew full well that corporate capitalism transformed workers into consumers, incurred a massive growth of the middle class, and in a peculiar way refashioned the genteel bourgeois culture into a seemingly democratized mass culture. Shorn of any recognition of the rich racial and ethnic heritages that had made America, this mass culture (and society) existed only as a ready-made advertisement and environment for consumption.

Throngs of whites subsequently rampaged through the inner city of Atlanta beating and shooting at black men. The police offered little protection. Walter White, who would be executive secretary of the NAACP in the thirties, was only thirteen as he witnessed a crippled Negro bootblack brutally murdered by a mob; W. E. B. Du Bois, who was in Lowndes County, Alabama, completing a study of a black community, rushed back to Atlanta to defend his family and home with a shotgun. Booker T. Washington, who had less than a month before he was to convene a meeting of his National Negro Business League in Atlanta, was in New York City.

42 To his credit, Du Bois never lost sight of the racist tendencies in the white working class and deftly used his knowledge of the past when elaborating his scheme of consumer cooperatives. He knew full well that corporate capitalism transformed workers into consumers, incurred a massive growth of the middle class, and in a peculiar way refashioned the genteel bourgeois culture into a seemingly democratized mass culture. Shorn of any recognition of the rich racial and ethnic heritages that had made America, this mass culture (and society) existed only as a ready-made advertisement and environment for consumption.

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African Tales


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