Originally posted on 101 Books:
That’s what W.E.B. Du Bois asked of black people in his 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk. It was the beginning of a philosophical change for African-Americans, whose role in American society to that point had been relegated to “the Negro problem.”
Du Bois was one of the forerunners of the racial uplift idealogy. Middle and upper class African-Americans were sick of being portrayed in negative stereotypes, so these community leaders attempted to change those perceptions.
According to our dear friends at Wikipedia: