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 Peking Meeting Commemorates Centennial of Birth of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois

Source: Peking Review, No. 10, 1 March 1968 pp. 26-7.


The centennial of the birth of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, noted Afro-
American leader, was commemorated at a meeting sponsored by the
Afro-Asian Writers' Bureau in Peking on February 23 [1968].

Vice-Premier Chen Yi attended the meeting. The speakers were Kuo
Mo-jo, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress of China; Mrs. Shirley Graham Du Bois; and Rathe
Deshapriya Senanayake, Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian
Writers' Bureau, who were in Peking.

Kuo Mo-jo quoted this passage form the cable of condolence by the
great leader Chairman Mao in 1963 to Mrs. Du Bois: BOLD "Dr. Du
Bois was a great man of our time. His deeds of heroic struggle for
the liberation of the Negroes and the whole of mankind, his
outstanding achievements in academic fields and his sincere
friendship towards the Chinese people will for ever remain in the
memory of the Chinese people." END BOLD

"Our great leader Chairman Mao," Kuo Mo-jo said, "made the most
correct and comprehensive appraisal of Dr. Du Bois. Today, the
struggle of the oppressed Afro-Americans in the United States is
advancing triumphantly under the light of Mao Tse-tung's thought.
We must continue to develop the undaunted spirit of Dr. Du Bois in
the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and unite with
Afro-Americans and all oppressed nations and peoples to eliminate
U.S.-led imperialism and new and old colonialism.

"Our great leader Chairman Mao has pointed out that BOLD 'the evil
system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the
enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will
surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black
people.' We firmly believe that Chairman Mao's great prediction
will become splendid reality."

Kuo Mo-jo pointed out that Dr. Du Bois' whole life was one of
struggle and of searching for the truth. Dr. Du Bois' heroic
struggle for Afro-American freedom and liberation had made him
clear-sighted, and in his later years he had repeatedly declared
that only close co-operation with the proletariat and under the
leadership of the Communist Party could the Afro-American fight
for freedom be guaranteed to win final victory.

When Dr. Du Bois came to China in 1959, Kuo Mo-jo said, "he saw
for himself the splendid achievements of the Chinese people's
revolution under the leadership of the great leader Chairman Mao;
he saw the thriving New China illuminated by Mao Tse-tung's
thought; he saw that the national question with which he was most
concerned could only be correctly solved under the guidance of Mao
Tse-tung's thought. And so he raised a great call to the African
people to learn from China; he wanted the African people to learn
from China's revolutionary experience -- the invincible thought of
Mao Tse-tung."

Dr. Du Bois' China visit "gave him a new lease on life. In 1961,
at the advanced age of 93, Dr. Du Bois was determined to devote
his life to the complete liberation of all mankind and to strive
for communism," Kuo Mo-jo continued.

"On August 8, 1963, half a month before the death of Dr. Du Bois,
our great leader Chairman Mao issued the ITAL "Statement
Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle against
Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism," END he said. "Like a
radiant lamp, Chairman Mao's statement pointed out the road of
liberation for the Afro-Americans and all the oppressed peoples
and provided the most powerful theoretical weapon for the
revolutionary struggle of the Afro-Americans. After this great
document was published, in the United States the Black people
became more awakened and their struggle became more powerful. They
are using revolutionary violence to deal with counter-
revolutionary violence." The masses of Afro-Americans had broken
the fetters of "non-violence," Kuo Mo-jo said. At present in the
United States, armed struggle against violence had become the main
form of struggle of Afro-Americans.

Kuo Mo-jo condemned the modern revisionists with the Soviet
leading clique -- the No. 1 accomplice of U.S. imperialism -- as
the centre, for their attempts to make use of Dr. Du Bois to
peddle their revisionist trash. "They deliberately do not mention
Dr. Du Bois' spirit of resolutely opposing imperialism and new and
old colonialism; and with evil intent, distort the great Du Bois
as merely 'a teacher' 'whose interests were very wide,' 'professor
of classical languages' and 'of economics." They even go further
to distort Du Bois as 'a Negro pacifist' and a 'fighter for peace
and freedom' to serve their surrender to U.S. imperialism and
their betrayal of the revolutionary cause of the people of the
world. This is diametrically opposed to Dr. Du Bois' resolute
revolutionary spirit against imperialism," he said.

In her speech, Mrs. Du Bois said, "I take delight in proclaiming
to the world that the essence, the core, the light and glory of
the nearly one hundred years accorded William Edward Burghardt Du
Bois is that: He was a revolutionist!"

The revisionists, she said, might only hail him as one of the
founders of the World Peace Council. "I rejoice that I may
celebrate this day here in the People's Republic of China, mighty
bastion of world revolution . . . a nation of fighters against
imperialism and revisionism, fighters against aggression and
exploitation, fighters of justice and freedom, the nation which is
the pilot light and inspiration of oppressed and struggling
peoples, where they be. For the People's Republic of China is the
only nation of indomitable, uncompromising, uncorrupted
revolutionists in the world."

She gave a detailed account of the valiant struggle fought by Dr.
Du Bois for the Afro-American cause of freedom, equality and
liberation.

As Dr. Du Bois approached his 90th birthday, he was discouraged.
He began to wonder what the long years of struggle had
accomplished. However, he was reborn when he visited he People's
Republic of China in 1959. "Seldom can it be said that a man who
has long since passed three score and ten years, is born again in
spirit, in mind, in body. But, in that spring of 1959, I saw it
happen," Mrs. Du Bois said.

"Long ago, the young Du Bois had written: 'I shall seek truth --
and I shall follow where it leads,'" she said. "Du Bois found
truth in the People's Republic of China. The light came out of the
red sun rising in the east, and he saw that the world and all its
abundance not only belongs to the people, but that the people
shall claim and hold it for their own. Here in China was the
proof!

"After four months travelling over China, he wrote: 'As we leave
may we thank them (the people) humbly for all they have done for
us, and for teaching us what communism means.'"

Mrs. Du Bois recalled how the great teacher Chairman Mao had
received them. "And, as we left, Chairman Mao placed in my
husband's hands a slender book of his poems. All the following
days of his life this little book lay on Du Bois' night table
beside his bed -- for . . . .I salute the Afro-Americans, who with
the slogan 'Black Power' are moving the proletarian masses of the
United States towards revolution!" she continued. Dr. Du Bois
"told us that the United States aggression would be stopped by the
aroused masses of the world. Today, throughout Souteast Asia, in
the Middle East, in South America and the islands of the sea, U.S.
aggression is being pushed back, is being challenged, is being
mocked as never before. He told that imperialism is doomed! Today,
the victorious people of Vietnam are sounding its death knell. He
told us that a people armed with correct thoughts, correct ideas
and ideals -- are invincible. Today, the great proletarian
cultural revolution, armed with Mao Tse-tung's thought, lifts
revolution to heights never before envisaged by man."

In closing, she recited one of Du Bois' favourite poems by
Chairman Mao Tse-tung:



BOLD

Soon the dawn will break in the east,

But do not say we are marching early;

Though we've travelled all over these green hills we are not old
yet,

And the landscape here is beyond compare.

Straight from the walls of Huichang lofty peaks,

Range after range extend to the eastern ocean.

Our soldiers, pointing, gaze south towards Kwangtung,

So green, so luxuriant in the distance.

END



The audience then heard a recording of the speech made by Dr. Du
Bois at Peking University during his China tour. Dr. Du Bois said:
"Africa, arise, face the rising sun!" "China is flesh of your
flesh and blood of your blood. . . ."

Addressing the meeting, R.D. Senanayake drew attention to the
significance of the celebration of Dr. Du Bois' centenary in
Peking, capital of the bastion of world revolution, and amid
sweeping victories scored in the unprecedented great proletarian
cultural revolution personally led by the greatest revolutionary
leader of our time, Chairman Mao Tse-tung. He added that the
world's revolutionary people had the highest admiration for
China's cultural revolution.

Senanayake acclaimed the firm and uncompromising stand taken by
Dr. Du Bois against imperialism and colonialism.

The Soviet modern revisionist leading clique and its hangers-on,
he said, had distorted the militant political stand of Dr. Du Bois
against imperialism and colonialism headed by the United States
and all reaction. They were trying to paint Dr. Du Bois "as a
passive peace worker, in order to divert the revolutionary
struggles that are being waged today by his fellow Afro-Americans
in the United States of America and elsewhere against imperialist
domination, racial discrimination, political oppression and social
injustice."

Senanayake continued: "Dr. Du Bois desired world peace not by
capitulation to U.S. imperialism or compromising with it or 'peace
at any cost' as the revisionists desire and preach now, but by
struggling against imperialism and colonialism to win and
safeguard national independence, people's democracy and socialism.
It is with these aims he associated himself with the world peace
movement since its early days.

"Dr. Du Bois advocated the national-liberation struggles against
imperialism and colonialism headed by the United States in order
to achieve ever-lasting peace. The so-called world peace movement
under the Soviet revisionists has, today, become a movement of
capitulation to U.S. imperialism."

The Afro-Asian Writers' Bureau called upon the revolutionary and
progressive Afro-Americans and other peoples to resolutely carry
forward the struggle against imperialism and colonialism headed by
the United States, modern revisionism with the Soviet revisionist
leading clique at its centre and all reaction in order win and
safeguard national independence, people's democracy and socialism,
the ideals for which Dr. Du Bois had stood and fought
uncompromisingly till his last breath.

Present on the occasion were leading members of the various
organizations concerned including Chang Hsi-jo, Chu Tu-nan, Ting
Hsi-lin and Hsu Kuang-ping. Among the foreign friends present were
representatives of the Afro-Asian Writers' Bureau -- Ahmed
Mohammed Kheir from the Sudan, Kinkazu Saionji from Japan and Afif
from Indonesia -- Djawoto, Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian
Journalists' Association, Afro-American leader Robert Williams and
representatives of international organizations and organizations
for national liberation of a number of countries in Peking. A
reception was given by R.D. Senanayake after the meeting.

  
  
  

 
 
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