Wright Pens New Book on W. E. B. Du Bois, Will Be Featured As Key Scholar in Black Social Thought

 an African American man with a moustache dressed in a white shirt and tie

Dr. Earl Wright II, the Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Sociology at Rhodes College, has authored a new book, along with Dr. Kalasia S. Ojeh of Kean University, titled An Introduction to W. E. B. Du Bois (Routledge, 2024). Also, Wright will be featured in Fifty Key Scholars in Black Social Thought, to be published in October by Routledge.

According to the publisher’s description of Wright’s book: “An Introduction to W. E. B. Du Bois examines the historical contributions to social science and the continuing relevance of the work of W. E. B. Du Bois in an accessible manner. The first volume of its kind, it places the theories of Du Bois in context, showing how the socio racial environment in which he grew up and came of age influenced the development of his thought. In addition to covering well known concepts such as double consciousness, the veil, and religious fatalism, the authors discuss Du Bois’ uncoined theories emanating from the Atlanta University Studies, as well as his contributions to the development of Black sociology and research methodology.”

William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois (1868-1963) was an American sociologist, scholar, and author, who contributed a number of studies exploring the social, economic, and political conditions of African Americans. DuBois earned degrees from Fisk University and Harvard College, and during his tenure teaching at Atlanta University from 1897 to 1910, he established a sociology department and published research on Black life known as the Atlanta University Studies. Du Bois was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and for many years edited its official publication, The Crisis.

Du Bois is also featured in the upcoming Fifty Key Scholars in Black Social Thought, along with Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Angela Davis, Cornel West, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and now Wright.

“I entered academia with no expectation that my name would be included on any list alongside my intellectual mentors W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Zora Neale Hurston,” said Wright. “My only goal when I began this career was to uncover the tremendous accomplishments of early Black sociologists at HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) and make sure their names were canonized in recognition of what they achieved. I am grateful that this goal has been accomplished. To have my 25-year body of work on Black sociology recognized as some of the most important work in social science leaves me speechless. And if I could tell the adolescent me—who grew up a few blocks from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in North Memphis—anything, I would tell him to keep believing in himself. Keep persevering. The sacrifices will be well worth the reward.”

Wright joined the Rhodes faculty in 2020, after serving on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati. He is author of Jim Crow Sociology: The Black and Southern Roots of American Sociology, and his research frames the scholarship of African American sociologists at HBCUs as canonical contributions to sociology. Wright has served one-year terms as president of the Association of Black Sociologists (2012-2013), Mid-South Sociological Association (2012-2013), and Southern Sociological Society (2022-2023).