What a curious phrase, ”the final democracy”! The final democracy could be realized only with the registering of the cadences of the black literary voice. This idea has such a long and intricate history in black letters that one could write a book about it. Suffice it to say here that W. H. A. Moore received it from writers such as E. Fortune, Jr., who in 1883 published an essay on ”The Importance of Literature: Its Influence on the Progress of Nations,” and found these ideas
echoed in essays such as a 1905 New York Age editorial entitled “Dearth of Afro-American Writers,” in which T. Thomas Fortune argued that “the capacity of a race is largely measured by the achievements of its writers, in whom its natural vigor and perspicuity of intellect, its highest moral revelations and its most delicate and beautiful emotions should reach consummation.” These statements are only two of many more. A New Negro would signify his presence in the arts, and it was this impulse that lead, of course, to the New Negro Renaissance of the twenties.
The most exemplary part of the work is Du Bois' personal account of the passing of his son. In "Of the Passing of the First-Born", Du Bois chronicles his journey from pure happiness into despair and disappointment when his son dies in infancy. Although he would never be afflicted by the evils of the veil, he was afflicted by tragedy, which, Du Bois argued, hurt even more. “Of Alexander Crummell" tells the story of a black man who decides that he will fight for his people, through education and religion. While he ultimately fails to garner the respect and success he originally wanted, he fought until death to gain equality. In "Of the Coming of John", he tells the story of a young black man who decides to get an education. While he receives this education and is therefore successful, the existence of racism destroys him. Finally, Du Bois ends this book with a collection of Negro Spirituals, which provide a glimpse into the tragedy of the past, and the hope that he has for the future.