In 1924, Jim Crow laws were still enforced in many parts of the United States and the Ku Klux Klan was experiencing resurgence. Martin Luther King Jr. had not yet been born, and the Civil Rights Act would not be enacted for another 40 years. Nonetheless, it was the year in which the Knights of Columbus commissioned and published a landmark history of black Americans: The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America, by civil rights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois.
In The Gift of Black Folk, Du Bois recounts the history of African- Americans and their many unsung contributions to American society. He chronicles their role in the early exploration of America, their part in developing the country’s agricultural industry, their courage on the battlefields, and their creative genius in virtually every aspect of American culture. He also highlights the contributions of black women, proposing that their freedom could lead to freedom for all women.
The Gift of Black Folk was recently republished by the Knights of Columbus. The new edition features an introduction by Carl A. Anderson, who, prior to becoming Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, spent nearly a decade working on issues of racial equality as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. (Soft cover)