Included here are incisive and authoritative statements ranging over six decades and a wide spectrum of concerns: from particular institutional controversies to general principles and beliefs to philosophical inquiries into the nature and application of truth. The "primal and baffling problem of education," Du Bois wrote in 1933, is "how shall men teach . . . that which they themselves do not know, or transmit a philosophy or religion that is already partly disbelieved and partly untrue."
These essays, originally presented as speeches, were courageous as well as controversial. Du Bois did not hesitate to confront both the white South, where most of the speeches were delivered, and the Black educational establishments, to whom most were addressed. He was never more forceful not more eloquent that when speaking to this central concern of the educational needs of his people.