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  • Louis Venters

Introducing “Strivings”

Welcome to my new blog! I'll use this space to report on my works in progress, scholarly engagement, and professional service, as well as to share reflections on race, religion, history, and social change. I'm pretty new to this particular medium, so I consider this something of an experiment. I'm planning on learning a lot!

A note on the title of this blog: In 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of essays addressing America's great racial dilemma. The first essay, entitled "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," is itself a masterpiece, a clarion call for a new kind of nation in which people of African descent can freely and fully contribute of their gifts and talents. The goal of all the Negro's striving, he says, is "to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius."

The same call, and the same goals, run like a golden thread throughout the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, which has profoundly shaped my approach to scholarship, service, and engagement with the discourses of society (and with which, not coincidentally, Du Bois was quite familiar). So the title of the blog is in one sense an homage to Du Bois, to whom anyone who purports to think about African American history is deeply indebted, and in another, broader sense, an acknowledgement of him and many others of my intellectual forbears who have attempted to combine in their own lives excellence in scholarship with an expansive social consciousness and sincere spiritual search.

I hope that this blog will be a record not only of my strivings--to be a good man, a good historian, a good servant of the broadest public good--but also, to some small degree, of our strivings, to be one people in a just and prosperous global community.

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