Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
An earlier draft of mums312-b203-i033. Regarding the failure of the United States to send an official delegation to the World Peace Conference Du Bois offers his speech as a representative of one who "speaks with a certain clairvoyance which is vouchsafed the outsider who lives within, the insider who does not belong." He notes that America seems to forget that it was once a colony that gained its autonomy through violent revolution and has gone on to impose its own imperialism in Africa and Asia. He takes the country to task for the widespread suppression of freedom and provides ten examples of this "spiritual reign of terror" including the dismissal of college professors and public school teachers for being suspected subversives, the jailing of the leadership of the American Communist party, and the cases of Alger Hiss, Frederick Field and the Rosenbergs. He is also disappointed by the shift in college majors away from the humanities and social sciences toward physical sciences and business, just one of many evidences of the decline of a critical public that is resulting in "an America half-informed and deliberately misled." He ends the speech with an image of the Titanic as a metaphor for American arrogance endemic to the nation's role in the world.