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The Souls Of Black Folk [Paperback]

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Item description for The Souls Of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois...

Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being Black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line." Thus speaks W.E.B. DuBois in The Soulsof Black Folk, one of the most prophetic and influential works in american literature. in this eloquent collection of essays, first published in 1903, Dubois dares as no one had before to describe the maginitude of american racism and demand an end to it. he draws on his own life for illustration, from his early experiences teaching in the hills of tennesee to the death of his infant son and his historic break with the concilliatory position of Booker T. Washington.

Outline Review
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) is the greatest of African American intellectuals--a sociologist, historian, novelist, and activist whose astounding career spanned the nation's history from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Fisk, Harvard, and the University of Berlin, Du Bois penned his epochal masterpiece, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. It remains his most studied and popular work; its insights into Negro life at the turn of the 20th century still ring true.

With a dash of the Victorian and Enlightenment influences that peppered his impassioned yet formal prose, the book's largely autobiographical chapters take the reader through the momentous and moody maze of Afro-American life after the Emancipation Proclamation: from poverty, the neoslavery of the sharecropper, illiteracy, miseducation, and lynching, to the heights of humanity reached by the spiritual "sorrow songs" that birthed gospel and the blues. The most memorable passages are contained in "On Booker T. Washington and Others," where Du Bois criticizes his famous contemporary's rejection of higher education and accommodationist stance toward white racism: "Mr. Washington's programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races," he writes, further complaining that Washington's thinking "withdraws many of the high demands of Negroes as men and American citizens." The capstone of The Souls of Black Folk, though, is Du Bois' haunting, eloquent description of the concept of the black psyche's "double consciousness," which he described as "a peculiar sensation.... One ever feels this twoness--an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." Thanks to W.E.B. Du Bois' commitment and foresight--and the intellectual excellence expressed in this timeless literary gem--black Americans can today look in the mirror and rejoice in their beautiful black, brown, and beige reflections. --Eugene Holley Jr.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 6, 2000
Publisher   Lushena Books
ISBN  1930097131  
ISBN13  9781930097131  

Availability  0 units.

More About W. E. B. Du Bois

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He has edited several major reference works, including Dictionary of African Biography, African American Lives, Africana, and African American National Biography. In addition, he is Editor in Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center (

W. E. B. Du Bois was born in 1868 and died in 1963.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Criminology
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Souls Of Black Folk?

Speaks The Truth To Power  Jun 5, 2008
In 1903, two years after Booker T. Washington's autobiography, "Up from Slavery", W.E.B. Du Bois published "The Souls of Black Folk", a series of essays which today most consider a seminal work in African-American Sociology literature. Du Bois view of race relations in American at the dawn of the 20th century was clear, critical and deeply profound.

Throughout the fourteen chapters Du Bois uses a metaphor, the veil, with considerable deftness:
"...the Negro...born with a veil...gifted with second sight...double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others."

Du Bois shares his thoughts on Emancipation & the Post-Emancipation era, "...there was scarcely a white man in the South who did not honestly regard Emancipation as a crime and its practical nullification as a duty." In other chapters he covers: the education of the Negro, Negro suffrage, tenant farming, and Negro spirituals a.k.a Sorrow Songs. In the chapter, "Of the Black Belt", we take a journey with him as he travels through the Black Belt of Georgia - which is not a reference to the large number of people of color in the area but to the color of the soil. In "The Coming of John", the lone fictional chapter, Du Bois relates a short story of two Johns, one white and one Negro, both coming home to the South after attaining an education in the North.

I could go on and on but this one relevant text that you must read for yourself.
The Souls of a Fallen People...  Nov 23, 2007
Mr. DuBois gave a harsh reality on the struggles of the African American people. He left no stone unturned and no points missed.
Great W.E.B .DUBOIS  Sep 23, 2007
I love this book. It is part of the best of the works of the great W.E.B. DUBOIS. My active reading of this book expanded my knowledge more on what it takes to be a blackman in America. It is a piece of identification that everyblack person in America is looking to verify about their race in the U.S.
It's a great book.
The Soul Of All Folk:  Mar 4, 2007
"The Soul Of Black Folk" Is a book I think everyone should read regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, color, or creed simply because there's something in it for all. W.E.B. Dubois' engaging book falls more inline with the panorama of all American experiences, not just the Black experiences alone: if that makes any sense?
This fine book was originally published in 1903 and is still a significant piece of literature today. The anecdotes that are shared in this book belong in the lexicon of American history, but what's most striking are Dubois' references to Negro music called the sorrow songs, which of course spanned through hundreds of years of sanguineous slavery. And it was these same songs that set the foundation of Gospel, the Blues, Rock n Roll, and the American dream.
The reason I'm using this terminology is because in-spite of the torture blacks suffered they still managed to sing amazing songs such as "Steal Away," and "Poor Rosy." (Some songs were in reference to allegorical content).
Furthermore, the British rock-band Led Zeppelin is a fine example of individual intellectualism insofar as embracing American Negro culture considering they were influenced by this book because in 1968, Led Zeppelin's first album debuted and not only did they cover blues favorites written by Willie Dixon, but they also covered Negro spirituals, which Du Bois referred to as the "Sorrow Songs."
Led Zeppelin's song "How Many More Times" is an opus of Negro "Sorrow Songs." It's amazing that it took the bluesy cadence of an English rock band to pay homage to the very people whose hardship and strife inspired them to borrow the lyrics and the music from this book. It's a wonderful sight to see when people like Jimmy Page and Robert Plant take the time to learn about Black Americanism and about themselves. It just goes to show that all Americans should embrace their African heritage because without acknowledging the Black experience it's impossible to be a true American.
It's upsetting to note that in today's America racism is so rampant that the subject of Rock n Roll history can't even be encroached upon like it was in the 1960's civil rights movement, due to the fact that the political language has significantly changed.
(In layman's terms we can't be honest with ourselves and discuss the sheer fact that racism still dictates our everyday lives simply because the corporate world creates the phony left/right paradigm and ad-hominems through the media, which leaves America with an erroneous history).
Anyway, music played a major role during the 1960's. It helped people prosper through the horrific struggle for independence. The poetry that the slaves introduced over two-hundred years ago would yet again set the recalcitrant atmosphere that was needed when Blacks won the right to vote in 1965. And it was that moment in history that systemic change began. It was almost like an ancestral eidolon cascading over America with the strength and perseverance of a god in love with his people.

Moreover, Dubois elaborates on many subject matter with a linguistic style coming across as the perfect salubrious prolepsis for today's readers.

Sorry to digress, but another high point in the book was Dubois' rebuttal to Booker T. Washington's bourgeois attitude. Even today many Black scholars quote Booker T, but the inquiry that wise? Well, according to Dubois, promulgating Booker T's message was rather pernicious and would only lead to more draconian virulence. Booker T's stance on waiting for White America to become simpatico to the needs of the Negro, while hoping for acceptance to proliferate from them in due time was not realistic at all.
Dubois strongly felt that Booker T's ideas were a depravity, a mummery, and an insult. Waiting for the bully to stop picking on you never works; for some reason Booker T couldn't contemplate that this scenario he was promulgating was ambiguous. If the powers that be are unwilling to negotiate with you then you have no other recourse but recalcitrancy. Booker T was in favor of slow progression, but just imagine what America would be like if Blacks took on Booker T's mindset? Life would be very different that's for sure.
Dubois hits on many touching moments in his memoirs and the personal lives of his students, which everyone reading this will enjoy. "The Soul Of Black Folk" is required reading for all. Give this book a chance! Dubois' writings are an inspirational experience!
souls of black folk  Feb 28, 2006
was worthless...was not the correct match for my class book requirement. Never used it...if someone wants it you can have it for free


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