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: First published in 1911, The Quest of the Silver Fleece is set in Washington, D.C., and Alabama. The silver fleece refers to the cotton industry, owned by powerful white men, who continued to make their fortune through the labor of African-Americans. In the story, Blessed Alwyn tries to come to terms with how a black man can integrate into society. He gets an education and moves to Washington, where he meets well-to-do blacks who seem to be living the kind of lives slaves had struggled for. Only, Blessed comes to find out, they have to make many compromises in order to be accepted by their white neighbors. Anyone with an interest in race relations and life at the turn of the 20th century will find this book about economics, race, love, and the hero's quest an astute sociological study. American writer, civil rights activist, and scholar WILLIAM EEDWARD BURGHARDT DUBOIS (1868-1963) was the first black man to receive a PhD from Harvard University. A cofounder of the NAACP, he wrote a number of important books, including The Philadelphia Negro (1899), Black Folk, Then and Now (1899), and The Negro (1915).