Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept is an autobiographical text by W.E.B. Du Bois, which, published in 1940, examines Du Bois's life and family history in the context of contemporaneous developments in race relations.
Preceded by the more well-known The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Dusk of Dawn focuses on a number of significant events: Du Bois's relationship with Booker T. Washington, his reasons for leaving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, his involvement in the Pan-African Congress, etc.
In contrast to Washington's Up From Slavery, a generic blend of slave narrative and autobiography, Dusk of Dawn traces the genealogy of the race concept as it has impacted Du Bois's life.
Here is how Du Bois describes this concept:
This was the race concept which has dominated my life, and the history of which I have attempted to make the leading theme of this book. It had as I have tried to show all sorts of illogical trends and irreconcilable tendencies. Perhaps it is wrong to speak of it at all as “a concept” rather than as a group of contradictory forces, facts and tendencies. At any rate I hope I have made its meaning to me clear.
W.E.B. Du Bois: Writings. New York: Library of America, 1987; 651