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4.5 

The Souls of Black Folk

By W. E. B. Du Bois
The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

When it was first published in 1903, W. E. B Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk represented a seismic shift in the discussion of race in the United States. Earlier African-American authors had broken ground with memoirs and autobiographical novels—narrative works that portrayed the African-American experience through the stories of particular individuals. What Du Bois envisioned was a work that portrayed the experience of African Americans as a people.

As a professor of sociology, Du Bois naturally gravitated toward a scientific and scholarly approach. But he was also becoming, to his own surprise, a political activist, and found himself increasingly disenchanted with purely intellectual arguments when his fellow African Americans were being lynched, starved, and driven from their land. What emerged from this tension between scholarly rigor and righteous indignation was a book that became a seminal text for both sociology and for the civil rights movement.

The fourteen essays in this book weave together historical research, sociological analysis, first-hand reportage, political argument, and an enduring, aspirational belief in the possibility of America. Many of the ideas that Du Bois introduced in the book have become mainstays of modern discourse, including the “veil of race” and the concept of double consciousness. These insights, originally rooted in race, have proven resonant to a wide range of other marginalized groups and have provided a useful framework for understanding the nature of oppression and the path to liberation.

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5 Reviews

4.5
Thinking Face“This book is insightful and thought provoking. The book was written around the turn of the 20th century hence some readers may find the writing style challenging. It is disturbing that the issues are still present in the United States. Don’t shy away because the subject is a reflection of our country’s racism and in our inability to reconcile and address it in a mature and respectful way. This book is very much a provocative read.”
Descriptive writingOriginal writingDark settingRealistic settingDarkThought-provokingBigotryRacismSexual assaultViolence

About W. E. B. Du Bois

Progressive Era

Repression and persecution

Anti-war and civil rights movements

Contemporary

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community, and after completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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