According to WEB Dubois, what is the talented tenth?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of DuBois's major ideas was that black people needed to help themselves get out of poverty and subservience to whites.  They could not simply rely on the help of whites to advance themselves.

DuBois thought that a major way to accomplish this would be to create a group of educated blacks who could lead their people to equality.  He called this group the talented tenth.  He meant that the top ten percent of the black population should be given a really good classical education so that they could become the leaders of black America.

In the following quote, you can see that DuBois is arguing that the "best" blacks will be able to lead their people as I have said:

The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races.

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