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The Lost Black ScholarResurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought$
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David A. Varel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226534886

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226534916.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Coming of Age during Jim Crow

Coming of Age during Jim Crow

(p.12) Chapter 1 Coming of Age during Jim Crow
The Lost Black Scholar

David A. Varel

University of Chicago Press

The first chapter traces Davis’s social and intellectual influences in the first third of his life, from 1902 to 1931. In 1902, Davis was born into a relatively affluent black family in Washington, D.C. Though his family suffered from Woodrow Wilson’s segregation of the federal government, Allison nevertheless achieved a first-rate education from Dunbar High School and was firmly part of the black middle class. After graduating as valedictorian, Davis studied English literature at Williams College from 1920 to 1924, again graduating as valedictorian. Then, he completed a master’s degree in English literature from Harvard College in 1925, where he was influenced by the New Humanism of Irving Babbitt. In 1925, Davis took a job as a professor of English at Hampton Institute in Virginia, where he worked until 1931. During these years, he contributed to the New Negro Renaissance while encouraging students to protest the administrative paternalism at Hampton and other white-run black colleges.

Keywords:   Washington DC, Woodrow Wilson, Dunbar High School, black bourgeoisie, Williams College, Harvard, New Humanism, Irving Babbitt, Hampton Institute, New Negro Renaissance

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