restricted access “This Great Work of the Creation of Beauty”: Imagining Internationalism in W. E. B. Du Bois’s Dark Princess and Black Beauty Culture


W.E.B. Du Bois’s Dark Princess describes the fashioning and self-fashioning of a black internationalist hero, while also distinguishing between the masculinized pursuit of beauty and justice and the feminized cultivation of personal appearance. This article argues that such distinctions respond to the alternative discourses of beauty, internationalism, empire, and Afro-Orientalism that emerge in the advertisements, salons, and lifestyles of black beauty culturalists Madam C.J. and A’Lelia Walker. Du Bois and the Walkers offer competing accounts of what spaces, practices, and images of beauty support desired forms of community, intimacy, and agency on a global scale.