Dec 02 2012

W.E.B. DuBois: “Last Message to the World”


Inspired by the story of an amazing three word letter that former Attorney General of Alabama Bill Baxley wrote to a Klan member in 1976, I wanted to share one of my favorite letters.

I am a great admirer of W.E.B. DuBois though I have rarely written about him on this blog. DuBois wrote a letter on June 26, 1957 with instructions that it be opened after his death which occurred August 27, 1963.

Last Message to the World

It is much more difficult in theory than actually to say the last good-bye to one’s loved ones and friends and to all the familiar things of this life.

I am going to take a long, deep and endless sleep. This is not punishment but a privilege to which I have looked forward for years.

I have loved my work. I have loved people and my play, but always I have been uplifted by the thought that what I have done well will live long and justify my life; that what I have done ill or never finished can now be handed on to others for endless days to be finished, perhaps better than I could have done.

And that peace will be my applause.

One thing alone I charge you. As you live, believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life.

The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long.

Good-bye.

W.E.B. DuBois