Talented Tenth, (1903), concept espoused by black educator and author W.E.B. Du Bois, emphasizing the necessity for higher education to develop the leadership capacity among the most able 10 percent of black Americans. . . In order to achieve political and civil equality, Du Bois stressed the importance of educating African American teachers, professional men, ministers, and spokesmen, who would earn their special privileges by dedicating themselves to “leavening the lump” and “inspiring the masses.” The phrase Talented Tenth first appeared in Du Bois’ The Negro Problem (New York, 1903).
Definition from Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/581418/Talented-Tenth
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