On Mastering One’s Self

The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin–the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world….Enjoy what is and do not pine for what is not…Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Fisk University 1888, to his fourteen year old daughter, Yolande

Yolande Du Bois (Fisk ’26) on the occasion of her wedding to poet Countee Cullen on April 9, 1928. One author dubbed the elaborate wedding “the single most important event of the Harlem Renaissance.”
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Bahamian-born "HBCUstorian" Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. is director of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. She a dynamic professional historian and a passionate Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. A graduate of the historic Fisk, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee State universities, she is the founder and executive editor of HBCUstory, convener of the HBCUstory Symposium, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. A passionate believer in the historic mission and future vision for HBCUs, her primary areas of specialization are black higher education and the civil rights struggle.

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