The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself," he insisted.
Du Bois, who first questioned the Great White Emancipator history of slavery's end in the 1930s and attributed emancipation instead to what Du Bois called a "general strike" staged by the slaves.
Slaves used the disruptions of the war to subtract themselves entirely from the Confederacy by fleeing to Union military lines, by becoming the Union Army's logistical corps, and by eventually exerting so much pressure on the Lincoln Administration that the president was forced to issue an emancipation proclamation and throw open army recruitment to blacks.
Now, with his characteristic erudition and interest in comparative history, he considers why, once the Age of Emancipation began, it took another century to abolish New World slavery, and even longer to redress its implications.
This ongoing "problem" became particularly acute for slaveholders after the Haitian Revolution, which Davis emphasizes as the big bang that birthed the Age of Emancipation.
And he cites writers as various as David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, and Barack Obama, to suggest that white pathologies "intent on animalization" (which outlived slavery) sowed doubts in the minds of many African Americans about their place in white society, long after emancipation (p.
Therefore, in Laclau's theorizing, the Enlightenment ideal of universal emancipation is transformed into the emancipations of particular social groups and individuals.
According to Laclau, the classical notion of emancipation implies not only a logical incompatibility but also a real undecidability.