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DignityA History$
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Remy Debes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Sympathy and Dignity in Early Africana Philosophy

Sympathy and Dignity in Early Africana Philosophy

(p.333) Chapter 11 Sympathy and Dignity in Early Africana Philosophy

Bernard Boxill

Oxford University Press

This chapter is about dignity not as an innate quality possessed equally by all persons but as a set of largely acquired qualities and virtues. Dignity in this sense commands a “bowing” gesture, and is, it is argued, the subject of Du Bois’s neglected essay “Of Alexander Crummell.” More specifically, the chapter argues that Du Bois’s biographical tale of Crummell covertly offers an account of the genesis and nature of the virtues and qualities that constituted Crummell’s dignity. The chapter concludes that on Du Bois’s account, dignity is impossible without the sympathy of others; that it includes the conviction that one has a morally worthy purpose to pursue; that it is one’s duty to find that purpose and to pursue it; and that the virtues that constitute it follow from one’s unflagging struggles to fulfill those duties.

Keywords:   Delany, dignity, Douglass, Du Bois, Hume, humiliation, propaganda, Adam Smith, soliloquy, sympathy

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