In this article, I respond to the idiom of “Black people's gifts,” a term that is often associated with W. E. B. Du Bois and that was frequently invoked in the wake of the Emmanuel AME Massacre. I contend that there are at least two different ways of thinking about Black gifts, a doubleness that runs throughout Du Bois's writings. On the one hand, we can read the gift simply as Black people's positive contributions to U.S. exceptionalism—Black courage, sacrifice, and even death ultimately function to advance and fortify imperial projects. Yet Du Bois also indicates that we might think of the gift of Blackness as that which cuts against these kinds of instrumental logics. To develop this second sense of the gift, I turn to the work of Georges Bataille and Toni Morrison, authors who link the gift of (Black) death with anguish, opacity, and intimacy with the dismembered.

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