free hit counter code The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access) - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access)

Availability: Ready to download

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access) Your Amazon Kindle is advised to include this African-American Classic non-fiction, especially this edition presented by Keybook Publishing. As a notable work of W.E.B. Du Bois, African-American and racism issues in American society will disclosed. This edition include The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access) Your Amazon Kindle is advised to include this African-American Classic non-fiction, especially this edition presented by Keybook Publishing. As a notable work of W.E.B. Du Bois, African-American and racism issues in American society will disclosed. This edition includes special features: an explainable preface author autobiography and bibliography illustrated quotes from the book FREE audiobook access . A linked Table of Contents makes this edition easy to navigate. Link to free, full-length audio recording is available in the book. Sorrow Songs are turned on - keep hearing and feeling them.


Compare
Ads Banner

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access) Your Amazon Kindle is advised to include this African-American Classic non-fiction, especially this edition presented by Keybook Publishing. As a notable work of W.E.B. Du Bois, African-American and racism issues in American society will disclosed. This edition include The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access) Your Amazon Kindle is advised to include this African-American Classic non-fiction, especially this edition presented by Keybook Publishing. As a notable work of W.E.B. Du Bois, African-American and racism issues in American society will disclosed. This edition includes special features: an explainable preface author autobiography and bibliography illustrated quotes from the book FREE audiobook access . A linked Table of Contents makes this edition easy to navigate. Link to free, full-length audio recording is available in the book. Sorrow Songs are turned on - keep hearing and feeling them.

30 review for The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois: Annotated and Illustrated Edition (with Audiobook Access)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    While reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, I asked myself whether any other book offered such penetrating insight into the black experience in equally impressive prose. The first name that came to me was The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. The Souls of Black Folk was published in 1903, and just as the two directions of black leadership in the tumultuous 60's and '70's were symbolized by Martin and Malcolm, the two directions at the turn of the last century—a period punctuat While reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, I asked myself whether any other book offered such penetrating insight into the black experience in equally impressive prose. The first name that came to me was The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. The Souls of Black Folk was published in 1903, and just as the two directions of black leadership in the tumultuous 60's and '70's were symbolized by Martin and Malcolm, the two directions at the turn of the last century—a period punctuated by lynchings and race riots—were embodied in Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Washington, born a slave in the South, urged blacks, at least for the present, to accept Jim Crow and disenfranchisement in return for safety and peace, while they concentrated on attending trade schools and developing--and demonstrating to white society--their integrity and character. (White society praised Washington; Theodore Roosevelt invited him to dinner at the White House.) W.E.B. Du Bois, born free in the North, insisted on the vote and full civil rights, and encouraged the development of black intellectuals, the “talented tenth," urging them to complete not only four years of college, but post-graduate degrees as well. (Du Bois was the first black person to earn a doctorate from Harvard). In this collection of fourteen essays, his first great influential work, Du Bois begins by anatomizing racism and analyzing its consequences, most notably how racism—particularly “the color line”—places every black person beneath the “veil,” creating a special way of seeing—painful, but also illuminating—which comes from being set apart. In “The Dawn of Freedom,” he offers a perceptive view of reconstruction, and in “Of Booker T. Washington and Others” he coldly, devastatingly, holds up Washington's ideas for critical examination. Throughout the first quarter of the work, he excels in conveying sociological insights in a magisterial--almost biblical—fashion. Beginning with “The Meaning of Progress,” where Du Bois' reminiscences about his days teaching in a one-room school-house, his style becomes gentler, more sentimental. His portaits of individual scholars and community elders are sharp but also deeply moving. Du Bois continues with his portraits in individual essays, each about a different part of the south or a particularly notable person, and by the end of his tour we have gained much insight into the “souls of black folk” in his day. The book ends with “The Sorrow Songs,” an examination of the nature of the Negro Spiritual, which is not only a fine example of sociology but a groundbreaking work of musicology too. If you have not read it, you should, for this book is not only a milestone of African-American thought but also a classic of American Literature. Its wisdom and rhetorical power have shown more brightly with the years, as it sits there, on the shelf of essentials, welcoming the advent of Ta-Nahisi Coates. Here follow two samples of Du Bois' prose, the first of realistic description, and second of transcendent rhetoric. The first is about a man Du Bois met in “The Black Belt,” where Cotton once was King: I remember one big red-eyed black whom we met by the roadside. Forty-five years he had labored on this farm, beginning with nothing, and still having nothing. To be sure, he had given four children a common-school training, and perhaps if the new fence-law had not allowed unfenced crops in West Dougherty he might have raised a little stock and kept ahead. As it is, he is hopelessly in debt, disappointed, and embittered. He stopped us to inquire after the black boy in Albany, whom it was said a policeman had shot and killed for loud talking on the sidewalk. And then he said slowly: "Let a white man touch me, and he dies; I don't boast this,—I don't say it around loud, or before the children,—but I mean it. I've seen them whip my father and my old mother in them cotton-rows till the blood ran; by—" and we passed on. The second is a question--relevant for all of us--about of the Negro Sprituals: Through all the sorrow of the Sorrow Songs there breathes a hope—a faith in the ultimate justice of things. The minor cadences of despair change often to triumph and calm confidence. Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whichever it is, the meaning is always clear: that sometime, somewhere, men will judge men by their souls and not by their skins. Is such a hope justified? Do the Sorrow Songs sing true?

  2. 4 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    "I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, Because the sun hath looked upon me: My mother's children were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards; But mine own vineyard have I not kept." - Song of Solomon 1:5-6 KJV Bright Sparkles in the Churchyard These are the lyrical and musical epigraphs preceding chapter seven. "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, -- "I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, Because the sun hath looked upon me: My mother's children were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards; But mine own vineyard have I not kept." - Song of Solomon 1:5-6 KJV Bright Sparkles in the Churchyard These are the lyrical and musical epigraphs preceding chapter seven. "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, -- the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea." This is going to be a hard book to review well. That is because of how well rounded and layered this book is at examining African-American life. There is much in this book that has made it so special. This book is to modern sociology what The Interpretation of Dreams was for psychology. In this book W.E.B. Du Bois offered one of the most complete studies of African-American life, history, politics, and culture. No book has really been able to over-shadow its relevance and its timelessness. It was written by the first Black man to earn a Harvard University doctorate degree. The book was published in 1903, a generation removed from slavery in the United States, yet it is still relevant to my life (four generations removed from slavery) and the present day. 112 years has not seen a lot of time pass! This book has been the foundation text that civil rights and Black advancement in America was built on. This book influenced so many people whose careers come out of it. From the Harlem Renaissance to the thesis of my favorite novel (Invisible Man) to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness all find roots in this book. Du Bois would, in the long years after 1903, change is stance on certain ideas presented in this book, most famously concerning his theory on The Talented Tenth, but he never had anything beyond spelling or proofreading corrections done in subsequent editions of this book since he wanted it to stand as a snapshot of how he saw the world in 1903. Trying to list the ideas and multiple purposes this book is putting forward is maddening. It puts forward in idea that a special 10% of African-Americans would become this alpha-class that would lead the rest of the race (he abandoned that as his interest in socialism grew). The book also list the theory of Black people having "double-consciousness" which he defines as the "sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his 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." He goes onto say that the history of Black Folks is the tension between this duality of identity and I do not see any good counter-argument to this from my personal experience."Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half- hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word. And yet, being a problem is a strange experience, -- peculiar even for one who has never been anything else..." The above quote is from the first two paragraphs of the book. This excerpt is something that Black Americans consciously or unconsciously have to always confront. Of course this book, being part self-study, uses Du Bois own life in order to examine the Black experience. This book is also a very thorough polemic against Booker T. Washington. Du Bois sees Washington and his influence as one of the worst calamities to hit the African-American nation. Booker T. Washington believed that Black people should not seek social equality or political independence, but should strive for economic equality only and be guided on political matters under strict, White supervision; Black education should not include the liberal arts, but be limited to vocational trades. All of this infuriated Du Bois and led to an intense rivalry between the two that only ended with Washington's death in 1915. A whole chapter of this book is devoted solely to refuting Washington and his accommodationist beliefs. The sad state of political status and employment of Black Folk are also covered in this book and it is depressing to see how much things have not changed. Given the recent spat of police shootings it makes reading the following quote even more painful: "...the police system of the South was primarily designed to control slaves...For such dealing with criminals, white or black, the South had no machinery, no adequate jails or reformatories; its police system was arranged to deal with blacks alone, and tacitly assumed that every white man was ipso facto a member of that police. Thus grew up a double system of justice, which erred on the white side by undue leniency and the practical immunity of red-handed criminals, and erred on the black side by undue severity, injustice, and lack of discrimination. For, as I have said, the police system of the South was originally designed to keep track of all Negroes, not simply of criminals; and when the Negroes were freed and the whole South was convinced of the impossibility of free Negro labor, the first and almost universal device was to use the courts as a means of re-enslaving the blacks. It was not then a question of crime, but rather one of color, that settled a man's conviction on almost any charge. Thus Negroes came to look upon courts as instruments of injustice and oppression, and upon those convicted in them as martyrs and victims. - from chapter 9. This has been confirmed, by now, as not just a Southern problem, but as a nation-wide issue now. Another issue is the lack of balanced employment. Du Bois was convinced that if greedy land-owners did not perpetually swindle Black people out of ownership, there would not be such a large movement of people from rural areas to the urban areas. He was, in-fact, witnessing the origins of The Great Migration. One of the more interesting things covered in this book are Negro Spirituals. Each chapter of this book contains two epigraphs (as demonstrated at the beginning of this review). One is a random quote vaguely related to the chapter, but the second quote is a musical notation of a passage from a spiritual. The last chapter of this book is dedicated to talking about the deep cultural and artistic importance of the spirituals (called Sorrow Songs by Du Bois) and he talks about their origins and of the musical group most noted for interpreting them: The Fisk Jubilee Singers. Each chapter quotation is also listed in this part of the book, but if you can read music you will guess the universally recognized ones like Swing Low or Steal Away. While I would like to keep thoroughly dissecting this book, I will probably just keep shaping the review as I think of new things to examine in it, in the future I may keep adding on, but I find that it is especially difficult for me to analyze this book that is so old, but so relevant and personal. I will give Dr. Du Bois the last word then: "Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle One, from out its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful. Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness which exalteth nations, in this drear day when human brotherhood is mockery and a snare. Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed THE END"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Man, this guy can preach. I opened The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and found myself ten years old watching Ken Burns’s The Civil War with my dad, dumbstruck by Morgan Freeman’s readings of mighty polemical passages from Frederick Douglass. The whole land seems forlorn and forsaken. Here are the remnants of the vast plantations of the Sheldons, the Pellots, and the Rensons; but the souls of them are passed. The houses lie in half ruin, or have wholly disappeared; the fences have flown, and the fam Man, this guy can preach. I opened The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and found myself ten years old watching Ken Burns’s The Civil War with my dad, dumbstruck by Morgan Freeman’s readings of mighty polemical passages from Frederick Douglass. The whole land seems forlorn and forsaken. Here are the remnants of the vast plantations of the Sheldons, the Pellots, and the Rensons; but the souls of them are passed. The houses lie in half ruin, or have wholly disappeared; the fences have flown, and the families are wandering in the world. Strange vicissitudes have met these whilom masters. Yonder stretch the wide acres of Bildad Reasor; he died in war-time, but the upstart overseer hastened to wed the widow. Then he went, and his neighbors too, and now only the black tenant remains; but the shadow-hand of the master's grand-nephew or cousin or creditor stretches out of the gray distance to collect the rack-rent remorselessly, and so the land is uncared-for and poor. Only black tenants can stand such a system, and they only because they must. Ten miles we have ridden to-day and have seen no white face. You can also hear Emerson in the tough eloquence, in the tone of terse King James vigor that unites this portfolio freely mixed of sociological theory, short fiction, historical essay and, underlying all, personal reminiscence of the color line as it cut through the author’s life. The sojourning soul of the poet--the kind of phrase, at once flowery and utterly clear, that Du Bois favors--pervades and completes Du Bois the sociologist, the educator, the activist. The effect of the whole is pretty extraordinary. I can’t quite believe I've neglected this book until now, on the verge of thirty. Du Bois puts forth a comprehensive treatment of the “Negro Problem” circa 1900, with elegantly resonant historical vistas-- The war has naught to do with slaves, cried Congress, the President, and the Nation; and yet no sooner had the armies, East and West, penetrated Virginia and Tennessee than fugitive slaves appeared within their lines. They came at night, when the flickering camp fires shone like vast unsteady stars along the black horizon... (the Federal government’s century of vacillating commitment to its black citizens is all compressed into those “unsteady stars”)--and suggestive speculations about the mechanics of mass uplift that will never go out of date. And I say that despite all the academic carping about the book’s outdated “paternalism”--people often invoke that supposed sin whenever they can’t duck the fact that peoples are led, for good or ill, by someone. Given a widespread academic armchair Marxism, and Du Bois’ own later fellow traveling, I’m amazed that some critics choose to see his ideal of a college-bred “Talented Tenth” as narrow bourgeois smugly diffusing useless genteel airs over their struggling brethren, instead of the quasi-Leninist cadre of devoted race-men he actually intended them to be. And Du Bois’ “Social Darwinism” was actually Darwinian: unlike his white counterparts, who used the phrase to argue that social struggle had ended, with the European empires and empire-builders deservedly and permanently on top, Du Bois insists that the struggle among classes and races continues with unflagging intensity and unpredictability; he holds that the first priority of turn of the century American blacks, so often helplessly baffled by the forces arrayed against them, should be the creation of an intellectually penetrative, politically uncowed, economically savvy educated class to serve as the race’s champion and advocate in a complex modern industrial society over which rapacious empires and callous conglomerates rule a roiling brawl of ethnically contrasting, mutually antipathetic competing labor groups. The Progressive Era dream of the educated upper middle class joined with the government to halt the worst depredations of capitalism is no more vulnerable to irony than the ideal of a purely unassisted laboring class liberating itself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land." - W.E.B. Du Bois I seem to be reading backward in time, not universally, I've read slave narratives and I've read Frederick Douglass, but mostly I've read about race backwards. I immersed myself in Coates, King, and Baldwin, and now Du Bois. Certainly, Booker T must be next. I loved the book and how Du Bois danced between a sociological and cold examination of slavery, share cropping e "The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land." - W.E.B. Du Bois I seem to be reading backward in time, not universally, I've read slave narratives and I've read Frederick Douglass, but mostly I've read about race backwards. I immersed myself in Coates, King, and Baldwin, and now Du Bois. Certainly, Booker T must be next. I loved the book and how Du Bois danced between a sociological and cold examination of slavery, share cropping economics, home life, racism, etc., and flipped into an almost lyrical hymn about being black at the end. The chapter on his dead son (Chapter 11) moved me to tears, but so too did the chapter on Alexander Crummell (Chapter 12) and the chapter on the two Johns (Chapter 13). These chapters rang for me like good poetry and lyrical storytelling always does. But Du Bois is also sharp. He delves into the issues of the Freedmen's Bureau (Chapter 2), critiques Booker T's limited vision for his people (Chapter 3), and addresses his thesis that the blacks of the South need (1) the right to vote, (2) the right to a good education, and (3) to be treated with equality and justice. Du Bois also introduced me to the idea of "double-consciousness" or "always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." Other things I loved? I loved his focus on education, his critique of the economics of both slavery and the post slavery economy in the South, hell, his critique of capitalism to a degree. I also loved his imagry of the veil: "So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil." This last year (actually the last couple years) has been hard. What seemed to be a jump forward on race for a couple decades, seems to have aggrivated and angered some deep, dark cyst in white America's soul. So, now I'm drawn to these narratives. They give me hope that the journey is not over for our too often divided nation. I hope that, given time, love, education, respect, and economic security, the wounds of slavery and discrimination, will continue to heal. Sometimes a fever doesn't break immediately. Sometimes an infection needs to burst to heal. Hopefully, things will calm the F down. Hopefully, like Du Bois suggests/sings: "Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed - The End."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    This is really not the book I thought it was going to be. I thought this would be a more-or-less dry book of sociology discussing the lives of black folk in the US – you know: a few statistics, a bit of outrage, a couple of quotes, some history, but all written in a detached academic style. It isn’t like that at all, although there are bits of it that are written exactly like that. Du Bois has been one of those people that I’ve been seeing about the place for some time now. There is an extensive This is really not the book I thought it was going to be. I thought this would be a more-or-less dry book of sociology discussing the lives of black folk in the US – you know: a few statistics, a bit of outrage, a couple of quotes, some history, but all written in a detached academic style. It isn’t like that at all, although there are bits of it that are written exactly like that. Du Bois has been one of those people that I’ve been seeing about the place for some time now. There is an extensive discussion of his work in WJT Mitchell’s Seeing Through Race and in a few of the books on racism in the US I’ve read. But again, I really thought what he did was straight sociology. This book, I suspect his most famous, is really anything but straight sociology. It is strikingly well written. It uses a variety of forms – there’s even a short story – and, given the book is so short, you should probably just read it rather than my review. What I was most interested in this book for to see what he had to say about ‘double consciousness’. I’m utterly fascinated by this idea and it is, I believe, one of the key ideas that people like Goffman have taken from du Bois. So, the genealogy runs from du Bois, through Goffman to people like Claude Steele and their work on the presentation of self, stigma and stereotype threat. Double consciousness is the idea that being black means having to have more than one soul. There is seeing yourself as ‘yourself’ and then always also having to see yourself as you are seen by those around you, those who have power. As du Bois says, what black folk long for is to be both black and American – to arrive at a kind of self-consciousness that does not require the denial of one in attaining the other. Something that writers like bell hooks run with. The short story in this book – a story about two first sons, one black and one white, and their parallel, though strikingly different journeys through life, present a stark vision of the constraints placed on one life and the soulless destitution of the other. I found this story moving, but also a fascinating way to make the point about the nature and consequences of racism in the US – the extremes people will go to so as to keep people in their place and how hard it is, once you have seen the ‘truth’ to convince those around you of that ‘truth’ - this is, again, a reworking of Plato's allegory of the cave and with similar consequences both for those able to 'escape' the cave, those left behind in the cave and those forced to return to the cave. Speaking from a position outside of ‘normal’ understanding always means sounding like a madman. It is the price of the getting of wisdom. Du Bois does not make the getting of this wisdom sound easy nor does he present the 'benefits' of such acquisition as terribly positive - but he does make clear that there is no other path, that all other ways lead to servitude. This book is rightly famous, but I can’t help thinking it must have really surprised people when it first came out (if only because it really surprised me all this time later) and must have been an insanely brave book to write. Not because (or not only because) of the content (du Bois got to pay and pay for his opinions, as is made all too clear in the introduction and timeline of his life), but it really would have taken guts to break so many rules associated with the ‘genre’ of academic writing as is done here. It all makes for a fascinating read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    W.E.B. Du Bois was many things: pioneering social scientist, historian, activist, social critic, writer—and, most of all, a heck of a lot smarter than me. I say this because, while reading these essays, I had the continuous, nagging feeling of mental strain, which I found hard to account for. There is nothing conceptually difficult about his arguments; in fact, most are quite straightforward. Although his sentences do twist and turn, they’re not nearly as syntactically knotty as other authors th W.E.B. Du Bois was many things: pioneering social scientist, historian, activist, social critic, writer—and, most of all, a heck of a lot smarter than me. I say this because, while reading these essays, I had the continuous, nagging feeling of mental strain, which I found hard to account for. There is nothing conceptually difficult about his arguments; in fact, most are quite straightforward. Although his sentences do twist and turn, they’re not nearly as syntactically knotty as other authors that I have waded through. So what was it? I have decided that it is Du Bois’s broadness and versatility which made The Souls of Black Folk so exhausting for me. His writing style is poetic, in that every sentence carries with it multiple shades of meaning. His social advocacy is rendered in prose dense with Biblical echoes and classical allusions; his vignettes push forwards with the emotional weight of a sermon, but are couched in the learned style of a professor; his arguments are never dry, never sterile, but always proffered with full consciousness of their significance to the lives of real people. What I find especially impressive about Du Bois is his self-assurance. In some older American authors—such as Melville, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and even the philosopher William James—I find a strange, self-conscious embarrassment of their Americanness. It is as if these authors were painfully aware that they were aping European art-forms, and struggling to find a native voice. There is none of this in Du Bois. His prose, his arguments, his concerns, and his manner are all firmly American, without a tinge of doubt, shame, or apology. Perhaps it is no coincidence that I feel the same way about another American author, Frederick Douglass, who speaks with the same eloquent self-assuredness. It is a great irony, then, that Du Bois, who felt a “double consciousness”—a clash between his identity as an American and a “Negro”—somehow managed to escape that other double-consciousness that has plagued America’s great white authors: being a European and an American. The conflict between wishing to continue, and to claim as ours, the heritage of the Old World—the awkward knowledge that we have no Shakespeare, no Goethe, and no Dante—coupled with our desire to break off on a new path. Meanwhile, Du Bois writes in a voice that is distinctly his own. And, more importantly, distinctly American. So let us relish the poetic justice that our most genuine voice emanated from a people who were systematically trampled underfoot.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Twenty-odd years ago, I read a few of these essays in other collected works and I remembered them very fondly. Reading them again now, in full, is something of a treat. I had not forgotten the quality of the writing. Indeed, the writing is gorgeous, erudite, and emotional. The sequence on education, the narrative of self-exploration, even of self-transcendence is a thing to behold. Of course, it is also heartbreaking. This was published in 1903, almost forty years after the Civil War, after the E Twenty-odd years ago, I read a few of these essays in other collected works and I remembered them very fondly. Reading them again now, in full, is something of a treat. I had not forgotten the quality of the writing. Indeed, the writing is gorgeous, erudite, and emotional. The sequence on education, the narrative of self-exploration, even of self-transcendence is a thing to behold. Of course, it is also heartbreaking. This was published in 1903, almost forty years after the Civil War, after the Emancipation Proclamation, and after the full roll-back of most of the rights that blacks SHOULD have had following their "freedom". Forty years after, poverty and the Jim Crow laws still hold sway. The systematic pushdown of an entire race is in full swing. Blacks got one-quarter of the funding for education as whites. If blacks wanted teachers, they had to teach themselves. The same thing went for making their own communities. High-interest rates and debt and company towns were the norm for any kind of share-cropping. It was slavery without the whippings. Economic chains instead of real ones. Massive movements arose to kick all blacks out of politics. Ignorance was the means to keep blacks down. What I LOVE most about W. E. B. Du Bois is his sequence on education. And it is the same for today as it was back then. It's not enough to endure. You must know. It's not enough to survive, to thrive you must understand the whole web of your life. Interestingly enough, when I read this in the nineties, it just felt RIGHT. It was about the same amount of time AFTER the 60's Civil Rights Movements. The feeling of ennui. The desire for change. The ability to make a stand slipping out of our hands. -- The understanding that all that hard work, all the HOPE was disappearing beneath a tide of false promises, empty platitudes, and (let's face it) ignorance. -- But it's not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It's hard. All of it is hard. But the fight is worth it. We can't let hate win.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    There is such beautiful writing here. Some of it is full of hope: He arose silently, and passed out into the night. Down toward the sea he went, in the fitful starlight, half conscious of the girl who followed timidly after him. When at last he stood upon the bluff, he turned to his little sister and looked upon her sorrowfully, remembering with sudden pain how little thought he had given her. He put his arm about her and let her passion of tears spend itself on his shoulder. Long they stood to There is such beautiful writing here. Some of it is full of hope: He arose silently, and passed out into the night. Down toward the sea he went, in the fitful starlight, half conscious of the girl who followed timidly after him. When at last he stood upon the bluff, he turned to his little sister and looked upon her sorrowfully, remembering with sudden pain how little thought he had given her. He put his arm about her and let her passion of tears spend itself on his shoulder. Long they stood together, peering over the gray unresting water. "John," she said, "does it make every one—unhappy when they study and learn lots of things?" He paused and smiled. "I am afraid it does," he said. "And, John, are you glad you studied?" "Yes," came the answer, slowly but positively. She watched the flickering lights upon the sea, and said thoughtfully, "I wish I was unhappy,—and—and," putting both arms about his neck, "I think I am, a little, John." * Some is filled with despair: It was several days later that John walked up to the Judge's house to ask for the privilege of teaching the Negro school. The Judge himself met him at the front door, stared a little hard at him, and said brusquely, "Go 'round to the kitchen door, John, and wait." Sitting on the kitchen steps, John stared at the corn, thoroughly perplexed. What on earth had come over him? Every step he made offended some one. He had come to save his people, and before he left the depot he had hurt them. He sought to teach them at the church, and had outraged their deepest feelings. He had schooled himself to be respectful to the Judge, and then blundered into his front door. And all the time he had meant right,—and yet, and yet, somehow he found it so hard and strange to fit his old surroundings again, to find his place in the world about him. He could not remember that he used to have any difficulty in the past, when life was glad and gay. The world seemed smooth and easy then. Perhaps,—but his sister came to the kitchen door just then and said the Judge awaited him. The Judge sat in the dining–room amid his morning's mail, and he did not ask John to sit down. He plunged squarely into the business. "You've come for the school, I suppose. Well John, I want to speak to you plainly. You know I'm a friend to your people. I've helped you and your family, and would have done more if you hadn't got the notion of going off. Now I like the colored people, and sympathize with all their reasonable aspirations; but you and I both know, John, that in this country the Negro must remain subordinate, and can never expect to be the equal of white men. In their place, your people can be honest and respectful; and God knows, I'll do what I can to help them. But when they want to reverse nature, and rule white men, and marry white women, and sit in my parlor, then, by God! we'll hold them under if we have to lynch every Nigger in the land. Now, John, the question is, are you, with your education and Northern notions, going to accept the situation and teach the darkies to be faithful servants and laborers as your fathers were,—I knew your father, John, he belonged to my brother, and he was a good Nigger. Well—well, are you going to be like him, or are you going to try to put fool ideas of rising and equality into these folks' heads, and make them discontented and unhappy?" * And then there was my horror at realizing that more than a century has passed since this book was first published, and there is so much that has not changed. *Both selections are from Chapter 13 - Of the Coming of John. Please read it here: http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/203/the-sou...

  9. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    3/6/20 Reading this book at this time feels so incredibly necessary. You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website 3/6/20 Reading this book at this time feels so incredibly necessary. You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Perhaps your education was different, but I don't think it's a coincidence that when I look back at which prominent African Americans were taught in my elementary school history classes, Booker T. Washington featured prominently while W.E.B. Du Bois was never mentioned at all. Reading The Souls of Black Folk, it's easier to see why. Washington was the advocate of conciliation, arguing that African Americans suffering in the ashes of failed Reconstruction should set aside their desire for equalit Perhaps your education was different, but I don't think it's a coincidence that when I look back at which prominent African Americans were taught in my elementary school history classes, Booker T. Washington featured prominently while W.E.B. Du Bois was never mentioned at all. Reading The Souls of Black Folk, it's easier to see why. Washington was the advocate of conciliation, arguing that African Americans suffering in the ashes of failed Reconstruction should set aside their desire for equality in order to focus on "industrial education" – trade schools, in other words. Du Bois not only rejected this argument, he did so forcefully, and in The Souls of Black Folk, he indicts not only Washington for upholding an unjust and oppressive system of racism, but he indicts white American at large. Published in 1903, Souls is less a focused treatise and more a collection of essays, many of them previously appearing in magazines throughout the country. As a result, Du Bois' tone ranges from clinical and academic, as in his sociological studies of Georgia's Black Belt written while he was on faculty at the University of Atlanta, to scathing and searing, as when he discusses "the Veil" – his overarching metaphor for living on the wrong side of America's color line – or describes the birth and untimely death of his firstborn son. But no matter what style he's using, Du Bois was an amazing writer. His lyricism flows naturally from his pen; he spins analogies and metaphors seemingly without effort. He weaves poetry and sarcasm into single sentences, all of it in service to his greater argument, which is that African Americans deserved freedom and 40 years after technical emancipation still hadn't gotten it. As an example of how Du Bois' formidable talents in both historical analysis and beautiful prose work together to form a burning and memorable argument, here is a passage I've picked at random by opening the book and selecting the first bit of my highlighting I saw: Free! The most piteous thing amid all the black ruin of war-time, amid the broken fortunes of the masters, the blighted hopes of mothers and maidens, and the fall of an empire – the most piteous thing amid all this was the black freedman who threw down his hoe because the world called him free. What did such a mockery of freedom mean? Not a cent of money, not an inch of land, not a mouthful of victuals – not even ownership of the rags on his back. Free! Or this amazing excerpt, which I read out loud to my wife, from his essay on the short life of his son: Within the Veil was he born, said I; and there within shall he live – a Negro and a Negro's son. Holding in that little head – ah, bitterly! – the unbowed pride of a hunted race, clinging with that tiny dimpled hand – ah, wearily! – to a hope not hopeless but unhopeful, and seeing with those bright wondering eyes that peer into my soul a land whose freedom is to us a mockery and whose liberty a lie. I saw the shadow of the Veil as it passed over my baby, I saw the cold city towering above the blood-red land. I held my face beside his little cheek, showed him the star-children and the twinkling lights as they began to flash, and stilled with an evensong the unvoiced terror of my life. It's no surprise that Du Bois – founding member of the NAACP, creator of sociology as we know it today, historian and activist and brilliant writer – has been overlooked in favor of Washington. Because Du Bois is not tame; he upends the careful fictions of white America that say slavery ended in 1865, that discrimination ended in 1965, that we should all be color blind and move forward. In The Souls of Black Folk, a book that should be required reading in every American high school, Du Bois anticipates and confronts those fictions and demolishes them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna Ho Shing

    Dr. DuBois is nothing short of genius. His in-depth analysis of the condition of people of African descent here in America is brilliant. The Souls of Black Folk is not one to be read and then shoved in a corner but should be reread time and again. I certainly will. Published in 1903 but is still just as relevant and important today.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    This was one of those older foundational books that I'd felt a little embarrassed for not having read, and now I'm happy to have finally approached it. I enjoyed both for the luxurious prose style as well as seeing this collection of writing for the first time. Though many of these pieces were published separately at first, there are some common themes. It is easy to explore Du Bois' idea of "double consciousness", that series of competing thoughts and perspectives, or specifically "unreconciled This was one of those older foundational books that I'd felt a little embarrassed for not having read, and now I'm happy to have finally approached it. I enjoyed both for the luxurious prose style as well as seeing this collection of writing for the first time. Though many of these pieces were published separately at first, there are some common themes. It is easy to explore Du Bois' idea of "double consciousness", that series of competing thoughts and perspectives, or specifically "unreconciled strivings" that a black person feels in a majority white American society, and to draw it out from its Hegelian roots. The "Talented Tenth" proposal, of educated advocates for black people, may lean into a bit of elitism, and given Du Bois' later inclinations, a possible precursor into revolutionary vanguardism and all the disastrous inter-party conflict that involves. But this book, with all its art, observation, and writing crammed into fourteen short pieces, is still a book for the present and the future. Du Bois takes easily to writing a sermon or a prophecy. The problem of the twenty-first century, or at least of 2020, etc. still is around the color line.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A landmark text charting the arc of Black life in America from the time of slavery to the early 20th century. Having been released over a century ago, the collection’s obviously dated, but it’s hard not to admire the way in which Du Bois swiftly cycles between social, cultural, political, and personal history, weaving together many threads into a compelling narrative.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Read this in college a while ago... Loved it. Changed the way I think. It was the first time I was introduced to the concepts of "the veil" and "double consciousness". My mind was blown.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eddie

    Speaks The Truth To Power In 1903, two years after Booker T. Washington's autobiography, "Up from Slavery: An Autobiography", 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 Neg Speaks The Truth To Power In 1903, two years after Booker T. Washington's autobiography, "Up from Slavery: An Autobiography", 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    One of the compliments people often give to old books, to argue for their continued relevance, is to say that they could easily have been written in the present day. It's impossible to say that about this book however because I can scarcely conceive something so dignified, generous, unhurried and universalistic being published today. Dubois was one of those people whose exceptional talents and mastery of the tools of a conquering civilization could put to shame the conquerors. This book is a col One of the compliments people often give to old books, to argue for their continued relevance, is to say that they could easily have been written in the present day. It's impossible to say that about this book however because I can scarcely conceive something so dignified, generous, unhurried and universalistic being published today. Dubois was one of those people whose exceptional talents and mastery of the tools of a conquering civilization could put to shame the conquerors. This book is a collection of essays ranging widely over an array of subjects. Some of them are dated, in the sense that they deal with the minute details of social conditions that have long since passed. But all of them contain some invaluable gems of insight mixed in with the beautiful prose for which he was known. As far back as the 19th century Dubois noted the dilemma that faced African-Americans, being subject to the goodwill of the "good whites" as a tool in the endless civil war they are locked in with the presumed "bad whites." This conflict more or less continues to this day in strange forms. Faced with the predicament of being a minority, minorities have the choice of either embracing an identity based on anger and revenge, totally comporting themselves to the preferences of the majority, or attempting some form of genuine self-realization. Even today so many people trap themselves in the first two options, instead of choosing the more laborious yet rewarding road offered by the third. Dubois was a bit of what we would call an elitist. In his view, racial tensions were often the result of the lower classes of respective races rubbing up against each other, or from mixing relations between the lower of one with the higher of another. Education was the most important tool for the elevation of the masses as a whole, but not everyone was suited to every sort of education. He was truly a universalist however, staking ownership of the high traditions of the West while never compromising in the face of the towering injustices that educated Westerners had committed in violation of their own civilizational values. There are many personal travelogues here of Dubois in the south, as well as a painfully beautifully reflection on the death of an infant son. In a few short pages he could condemn with unflinching dignity the mass rape of slaves in America by masters, then move on to lay claim for himself Shakespeare, Balzac and Marcus Aurelius, none of whom "winces when I sit near" as being his by way of universal cultural inheritance. He was absolutely right. If America was unable to accommodate him by the end of his life, it was due to its own shortcomings.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    FINALLY finished! This book has been my 'errand book' book for ages now. I'd read a page or two while waiting in the car while running errands, or in line at the post office or the grocery store, etc, and... I'm not sure that is the best way to read this book. I can appreciate it for its role in literature and history, but reading this way made it feel like this slim little book would never end. It got rather tedious towards the end, I'll be honest. That being said, there is some really good stu FINALLY finished! This book has been my 'errand book' book for ages now. I'd read a page or two while waiting in the car while running errands, or in line at the post office or the grocery store, etc, and... I'm not sure that is the best way to read this book. I can appreciate it for its role in literature and history, but reading this way made it feel like this slim little book would never end. It got rather tedious towards the end, I'll be honest. That being said, there is some really good stuff in here, and I do think that this book is one that should be read by everyone... just maybe in a more structured way. Maybe an essay per night before bed or something. Anyway, I don't know what I can say about this one that hasn't been said about a bazillion times before, so this is probably going to be one of my lamest reviews. *shrug* Sorry.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    Much that the white boy imbibes from his earliest social atmosphere forms the puzzling problems of the black boy's mature years. On Feb 1st, 1903, a century ago and counting, W.E.B. Du Bois introduced this work with the statement that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." It is the Twenty-First century. I regularly teach students who have known no other century than this. All of them have aspirations to go to college. Very few of them are white, and as someo Much that the white boy imbibes from his earliest social atmosphere forms the puzzling problems of the black boy's mature years. On Feb 1st, 1903, a century ago and counting, W.E.B. Du Bois introduced this work with the statement that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." It is the Twenty-First century. I regularly teach students who have known no other century than this. All of them have aspirations to go to college. Very few of them are white, and as someone who's neither straight nor neurotypical, I'd imagine a fair amount of them are the same. There's no guarantee that pursuing higher education in California will protect them, or that limiting the search to "liberal" states will offer a buffer between them and those who follow in the footsteps of their forebears and enact their violence outside the realm of video games. All that these "liberal" states have are in preponderance are brown nosing equivocators who think social justice and property destruction are incompatible, as if the Boston Tea Party, the Bastille, Stonewall, the Berlin Wall, etc, etc, etc, meant nothing. The fact that I haven't seen a single black student or employee at my center makes sense in the state with what has been called "the biggest prison building project in the history of the world." On the one hand, everything has changed since Du Bois penned this peace. On the other, nothing has, as the politics that went into trying and failing to make the Reconstruction the best that it could be was same shit, different day. I've spent a good portion of my time on the Internet learning about the history of the South, capitalism, the sapping of the black creation by the white overlords, education, respectability politics, despair and self-annihilation brought on by racism, the global search for Black Lives Matter, and lynching that these pages cover, and the fact that I had to turn to unorthodox connection when education failed to deliver means the Internet can't solve what the Powers That Be choose to ignore. On a minor note is the prose, which is dense and distanced from modern conventions enough that I am extremely thankful that this work made its way into my headlights before Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 drew me into its long slog of a grasp. On a major note is how Du Bois completely sidelines women and the working class in the favor of guidance by a genteel philosopher kingdom (it's okay if they're white by the way. we can't blame them for all that racism has caused). Considering how often he and Wells-Barnett worked together, he has no excuse, although it does give a preamble to him shafting her when it came to giving credit for the foundation of the NAACP. As a result, guess who's autobiography I'm willing to spend time on. I guarantee you that there are people who are reading certain books on this website and in the US and crying because they know what the stakes are. I can also guarantee you that there are people who aren't reading certain books on this website and think that those crying people deserve to be culled so that they, the non-criers, can keep their precious cars and handbags and military industrial complex. I'd hope that I'd culled the last of those from my literary contact list, but they just keep on popping up every time they think they can use people as metaphors without normalizing said people's murders. If you don't think now is the time to start taking a serious look at yourself and your habits of conforming, have fun ranking your friends and family in terms of whom you'd give up first when the police came knocking and whom you'd give up last. Contrary to popular belief, survival of the fittest does not have a steep learning curve. You just lie low and hope that they kill enough people around you to get bored and move on. The silently growing assumption of this age is that the probation of races is past, and that the backward races of to-day are of proven inefficiency and not worth the saving. Such an assumption is the arrogance of peoples irreverent toward Time and ignorant of the deeds of men. A thousand years ago such an assumption, easily possible, would have made it difficult for the Teuton to prove his right to life. Two thousand years ago such dogmatism, readily welcome, would have scouted the idea of blond races ever leading civilization.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Francesca Calarco

    Influential, ground-breaking, and timeless—W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is an amazing social analysis/piece of literature that took the world by storm. I knew Du Bois was a force of nature, but I had no idea of just how truly influential he was (and is) until I read this work. A century before Ta-Nehisi Coates penned Between the World and Me as a letter to his son on racial injustice in America, W. E. B. Du Bois asked of his fellow man, ”Between me and the other world there is ever a Influential, ground-breaking, and timeless—W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is an amazing social analysis/piece of literature that took the world by storm. I knew Du Bois was a force of nature, but I had no idea of just how truly influential he was (and is) until I read this work. A century before Ta-Nehisi Coates penned Between the World and Me as a letter to his son on racial injustice in America, W. E. B. Du Bois asked of his fellow man, ”Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it… How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.” With these sentiments, Du Bois presents the concept of life ”within the Veil”—a manifestation of the color line—where life is split between the expectation established by hegemony, and the reality of systemic injustice. Du Bois evaluates life ”within the Veil” throughout a number of the essays presented in this volume. Notably though, in Our Spiritual Strivings, he expands that within this context, how people form a type of ”double-consciousness”. This term, Du Bois explains as: “After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, — a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One feels his two-ness, — 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. In addition to offering elegance and insight, Du Bois’ social analysis, which was built on thoughtful interactions with the people he was writing about, predates the work of many prominent anthropologists first credited with “inventing” ethnographic field work. I would actually consider this collection to be one of the best ethnographic collections I have ever read. Du Bois was a man ahead of his time in a number of ways, though his work will most likely be remembered for its very real impact on civil rights in the United States. Over half a century before Martin Luther King Jr. “had a dream,”, Du Bois questioned in his final essay, The Sorrow Songs, “Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whichever it is, the meaning is always clear: that sometime, somewhere, men will judge men by their souls and not by their skins. Is such a hope justified?” Given the current reality, I think that this question is (and will remain) one worth revisiting. This, in addition to a number of other great content, including a memorable critique of Booker T. Washington’s more conservative approaches, is why I think The Souls of Black Folk is a book worth reading. Either way, Du Bois’ resonance will persist whether or not you are aware of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paula Koneazny

    I appreciate DuBois’s classic study of race as an historical document, and at times even as a piece of literature. I particularly value his depiction of the political, social and material conditions in the South immediately following the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War. Nevertheless, I question some of his proposals and conclusions. Although his views may have been radical in 1903, many of them now sound paternalistic and outdated. Perhaps that, in and of itself, is a sign I appreciate DuBois’s classic study of race as an historical document, and at times even as a piece of literature. I particularly value his depiction of the political, social and material conditions in the South immediately following the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War. Nevertheless, I question some of his proposals and conclusions. Although his views may have been radical in 1903, many of them now sound paternalistic and outdated. Perhaps that, in and of itself, is a sign of progress. The Souls of Black Folk, of course, is didactic. It’s also a polemic, for DuBois’s stated aims are to both instruct and convince his audience. Many indications in his prose suggest that he conceived his audience to be “the best kind” of white people, and more Northern, I think, than Southern. I don’t think his arguments are directed toward “the best kind” of Negro. I use these terms because they are his, and because this sorting of people, both black and white, into categories of “best” and “worst,” is one of the things that most irritates me about DuBois’s thinking. He touts The Talented Tenth (although he may not have coined this phrase, it became intimately associated with his ideas) as worthy candidates for a classical liberal education and as the source of leadership for “their race.” He admits the need for a sort of benevolent guardianship (by the Talented Tenth and enlightened whites) over the masses of unschooled and largely impoverished black folks in the South. He says, “the paths of peace winding between honest toil and dignified manhood call for the guidance of skilled thinkers, the loving, reverent comradeship between the black lowly and the black men emancipated by training and culture.” Besides the Talented Tenth, two other concepts are integral to Du Bois’s thinking, that of The Veil, which is both a physical and social demarcation of difference, and double-consciousness, defined as “a peculiar sensation, . . . this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others . . . . one ever feels his two-ness,--an American, a Negro.” Although he argues against Booker T. Washington’s preaching of abandonment of political and social goals in order to focus solely on material gains for blacks, Du Bois himself proposes that blacks not fit to benefit from the education he proposes for The Talented Tenth should indeed settle for training in a trade and much more limited aspirations.(Apparently, Du Bois modified these views somewhat later in his life.) On the other hand, Du Bois is often forceful in his defense of equal rights for all blacks, for example, when he states, “Negroes must insist continually, in season and out of season, that voting is necessary to modern manhood, that color discrimination is barbarism, and that black boys need education as well as white boys.” Although many of the social conditions that Du Bois references have been ameliorated over time, some of his observations sound uncomfortably current today, such as the following: “the white folk say it [the county prison:] is ever full of black criminals,--the black folks say that only colored boys are ever sent to jail, and they not because they are guilty, but because the State needs criminals to eke out its income by their forced labor.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    So far, so good. This collection of short essays was written in 1903 and basically changed the way people thought and talked about race in America. DuBois broke down the notion of a scientific explanation for racism and racial bigotry. He essentially went to the University of Atlanta to do just the opposite, to accomplish by scientific means some understanding of race relations and what was called at the time "the Negro problem." After only a few years, he realized that you can't solve a social So far, so good. This collection of short essays was written in 1903 and basically changed the way people thought and talked about race in America. DuBois broke down the notion of a scientific explanation for racism and racial bigotry. He essentially went to the University of Atlanta to do just the opposite, to accomplish by scientific means some understanding of race relations and what was called at the time "the Negro problem." After only a few years, he realized that you can't solve a social problem with hard science - it's like trying to write a poem with a Rubik's cube, or determine the square root of a prime number by reading the collected works of Marx. The answer will fail to satisfy the original question - may lead to interesting further inquiry, though. Anyway, though his prose can be a little list-heavy, he's got some incredibly strong blunt-edged phrases. "How does it feel to be a problem?" is essentially how he translates most questions about race by white people. Which is the truest version of the question of race as put to the person on whom racism is perpetrated. W.E.B. DuBois was a heavy thinker, and his reading of the dualism of racism - that is, being able to see oneself dually, as seen by oneself, like oneself, and as seen by the rest of society, as unlike the collective Self - is essentially what some of the more progressive thinkers (Edward Said comes to mind) of the twentieth century have come to. And DuBois was onto this in 1903. W.E.Burghardt DuBois will make you think, and he makes you work for it, but so far it's worth it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Larsen describes him as "peppery," and I like that. He's civil, but he's quietly laying haymakers. It's an important book. To a depressing extent, when we talk about racial injustice these days, we're still repeating DuBois. It is nonfiction - essays on the challenges Blacks face in the wake of the Civil War - so be aware, it's not like it's going to have a plot. I'm reading it one chapter at a time between other things; going straight through was making me miss some stuff. The prologue, with the Larsen describes him as "peppery," and I like that. He's civil, but he's quietly laying haymakers. It's an important book. To a depressing extent, when we talk about racial injustice these days, we're still repeating DuBois. It is nonfiction - essays on the challenges Blacks face in the wake of the Civil War - so be aware, it's not like it's going to have a plot. I'm reading it one chapter at a time between other things; going straight through was making me miss some stuff. The prologue, with the iconic question, "How does it feel to be a Problem?" and the confession that, looking at white folks, Du Bois sometimes wanted to just "beat their stringy heads," is worth the price of admission.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Dubois is probably one of the best writers/thinkers of his generation. This book is not only relevant today, but the prose is timeless. It's also a great historical artifact explaining reconstruction america.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Clint Priest

    I really did not care for this book at all, one that is considered a major literary work. The book was to describe the black experience in America around the turn of the century but it comes off as nothing more than indulgent prose. It seems to strive for how eloquently it can complain and disagree with contemporaries like Booker T. Washington. I really hoped for better from this book and hoped to learn from a new perspective but all I learned is that W.E.B. DuBois is a professional bloviator.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jan Priddy

    It is an important book and I am glad to have read it. Apparently I am the first reviewer to notice that Du Bois has done precisely what Sojourner Truth warned against. I had to hunt for it, but here it is: "...if colored men get their rights, and colored women not theirs, the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before."—Sojourner Truth, 1867 There is discomforting harping on classes of black people, those who have pursued "advancement" and those who h It is an important book and I am glad to have read it. Apparently I am the first reviewer to notice that Du Bois has done precisely what Sojourner Truth warned against. I had to hunt for it, but here it is: "...if colored men get their rights, and colored women not theirs, the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before."—Sojourner Truth, 1867 There is discomforting harping on classes of black people, those who have pursued "advancement" and those who have failed, for which "two hundred and fifty years" of helpless servitude have led them to "ignorance, shiftlessness, poverty, and crime" and his appalling antisemitism. For the suffering of poor southern blacks, he blames "the sons of poor whites fired with a new thirst for wealth and power, thrifty and avaricious Yankees, shrewd and unscrupulous Jews" ("Of the Sons of Master and Man"). Du Bois details the post-Civil War struggle to find a place for millions of freed people in American society, and the mistakes made. He counters Booker T. Washington's occupational training with a desire for education as a pathway to "manhood", and in other ways explains how it is that slavery still haunts our nation. Rather than inviting these people of color (a phrase he uses here) to their places at the table, Booker T. wanted them trained to serve, and, lost to Mammon, we all lost some of our humanity. This is compelling history, some charming prose if often purple—Du Bois liked to show off with the classics and prove his humanity with "elevated" diction. In some chapters the writing suggested an unfortunate cross between Louisa May Alcott and P.G. Wodehouse, though without humor. He reserves his concern for men with little mention of black women except as victims of rape and other abuse until a black woman shows up from Greek mythology, but no woman of color is cited by name until two thirds through the book. There is no suggestion that black women might want some respect as people. It is a history not of black folk, but only of black men, and only one northerner's view. He assumes that black southerners did not notice the bigotry with which they were treated in the Jim Crow South until they experienced the contrast with the North, which seems naive, if not offensive. This book might as easily have been written by a white man of two hundred years ago, and I am sorry for that. In choosing his chapter epigraphs, two come from "Mrs. Browning," but for all his education, he found no poetry from persons of color, though he was aware of Phillis Wheatley—the only black woman named in the text. It goes some way to explaining the first stanza of (his son-in-law) Countee Cullen's "Heritage" (1925) What is Africa to me: Copper sun or scarlet sea, Jungle star or jungle track, Strong bronzed men, or regal black Women from whose loins I sprang When the birds of Eden sang? One three centuries removed From the scenes his fathers loved, Spicy grove, cinnamon tree, What is Africa to me? There is some painful irony in his neglect of women that Du Bois was raised by a single mother, that he was awarded scholarships to college and was a man before he first encountered the Jim Crow South. Though he appeals repeatedly to the Christian conscience, he was not a Christian. He worked to the end of his life for racial justice and world peace. Finally, be warned. Du Bois has written in an "elevated" style that was customary among 19th century writers anxious to prove their humanity. The result is a book that is not as comfortable to read as it might be for modern readers had he written as I hope he spoke. He was an intelligent man, well educated, and wise. He knew his audience would require every bit of evidence he could muster that he was a human being and that led to an almost crippling use of purple prose. For a different use of formal literary register juxtaposed with the vernacular—and humor!—read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God from years later.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jim Townsend

    Wow. These fourteen essays on race and race relations by writer, civil rights activist and scholar William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963), originally published in 1903; should be required reading in Donald Trump's USA, where ignorance is king--in a recent You Tube video, an unschooled man in a park berates a woman proudly wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, as a foreigner, even though that island has been a U.S. territory for over a century, and its citizens are United States citizens--an Wow. These fourteen essays on race and race relations by writer, civil rights activist and scholar William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963), originally published in 1903; should be required reading in Donald Trump's USA, where ignorance is king--in a recent You Tube video, an unschooled man in a park berates a woman proudly wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, as a foreigner, even though that island has been a U.S. territory for over a century, and its citizens are United States citizens--and division and hatred queen. In these essays Du Bois, the first black man to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University, offers a history of the racial prejudice and hatred of the white man against the black, all because of his skin color (news flash! we can no more control the color of our skin than we can milk a bull, people), as well as solutions. A powerful book for which I thank La Tonya (who runs a GR forum for reading diversity) for recommending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    david shin

    This is one of the books that every human being should read in their lifetime. No other book is more profound or searing as DuBois' evaluation of the problem between the color line. It is both challenging and heart-breaking. Though we have made progress since the dawn of the twentieth century, we still have a long way to go. I would recommend this book not only to those interested in issues of race, but also anyone interested in American culture and society as a whole. It is a telling book that s This is one of the books that every human being should read in their lifetime. No other book is more profound or searing as DuBois' evaluation of the problem between the color line. It is both challenging and heart-breaking. Though we have made progress since the dawn of the twentieth century, we still have a long way to go. I would recommend this book not only to those interested in issues of race, but also anyone interested in American culture and society as a whole. It is a telling book that shows where we have come from as a society, and where we should be heading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This is my first time ever reading any of DuBois's literature and I am BLOWN away. I'm just going to list what I loved about the book, and try not to give too much. THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU DIG DEEPER. 1. Climate Change of his writing. DuBois starts the book off with very a fact driven, political, and sociological nature that leaves no doubt of the racial injustice and inequality of the 19th Century. For a reader who isn't quite history driven, the first few chapters may be hard to follow. (Maybe This is my first time ever reading any of DuBois's literature and I am BLOWN away. I'm just going to list what I loved about the book, and try not to give too much. THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU DIG DEEPER. 1. Climate Change of his writing. DuBois starts the book off with very a fact driven, political, and sociological nature that leaves no doubt of the racial injustice and inequality of the 19th Century. For a reader who isn't quite history driven, the first few chapters may be hard to follow. (Maybe it was just me) Also DuBois uses intricate, "dual meaning" wordplay yet will recapture the reader with rhetoric. He asks many thought provoking questions. As you move towards the middle of the book, his writing becomes less sophisticated, yet still intelligible. He captures the reader through personal experience upon his travels to the South and time teaching. By the end of the book, Dubois will capture you with spirit, emotion, and poetic like prose. 2. Timeless. This book is the very meat and bone of the racial injustice of America today. The progression of our People will arguably cause some to say, "no. things have changed. Blacks have rights, power, and money." But do we ? "The Veil" of Black consciousness that DuBois writes of in several angles, will either be a completely new concept to you, or speak directly to you as a Black American. 3. DuBois's Diplomacy. I found it to be very interesting, that through Dubois's journey of self awareness and the discovery of his state of being -that he wasn't aware of before his migration to the South- he never seemed to exude hatred for Whites, yet he presumably despised their ways. This may be due to the fact that Dubois' was partially White himself and grew around Whites. But its amazing to see how he never played on a Good Whites vs Bad Whites dichotomy. Even in his essay about Booker. T, he classily spoke highly of him, his work, and integrity. This book has introduced me to Dubois as not just a Black historical figure, but an AMERICAN historical figure. Dubois clearly was far more intelligent, educated, culturally diverse, and brilliant than most if not every Black AND White literary, educator, sociologist, activist, etc, in America, during his time. This book is a classic. It is an American masterpiece.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The classics challenge offered the perfect opportunity for me to read Du Bois’ classic The Souls of Black Folks. It is an assortment of essay, some of which were published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, before being assembled and published as a book in 1903. Each chapter in The Souls of Black Folks begins with a poetic epigraph including a musical score. The poetry was not written by Du Bois. Some are traditional spirituals. Others are poems written by African-Americans as well as white Ameri The classics challenge offered the perfect opportunity for me to read Du Bois’ classic The Souls of Black Folks. It is an assortment of essay, some of which were published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, before being assembled and published as a book in 1903. Each chapter in The Souls of Black Folks begins with a poetic epigraph including a musical score. The poetry was not written by Du Bois. Some are traditional spirituals. Others are poems written by African-Americans as well as white American and European poets. All of the poems share similar themes of suffering and liberation. I thought that the epigraphs were effective in setting the stage for the reader to have a personal experience. Each essay deals with a different aspect of the issue of race in America. Some of the essays are very personal. Others are historical, while still others are political and philosophical. All are extremely thought provoking. Du Bois’s writing is special, but it requires concentration. His style is poetic and erudite. It would have been wonderful to read this in college, when I was in the midst of academia. I was prepared for most of his historical references, but I was behind the curve when he referenced Greek mythology. I was glad that I read this on my kindle. Every time DuBois referenced something that I wasn’t familiar with, I could tap the term and do a wiki search. I couldn’t read this straight through like a novel. I read one or no more than two essays at a time. Du Bois is, clearly, writing to a 1903 audience, but I was amazed at how many of the essays had contemporary application and meaning. This is an excellent book. I'm still thinking about several of the essays. I read The Souls of Black Folk for PrettyBooks’s Classics Challenge. The requirements are to read one classic a month, review the book and answer specific questions. My Challenge blog is: http://linda2015classicschallenge.blo...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    This sounds like something linked with every book on this site, but this book is a must read, especially with Americans. Du Bois is a great writer and this book helped start the civil rights movement. The book is non-fiction and a collection of essays, but at times he writes them as short stories. His prose are well crafted. One section I liked the best was Du Bois talking about religion, he's not a fan. He brings up how people have stereotype backs into religious folks. Not all blacks are Christ This sounds like something linked with every book on this site, but this book is a must read, especially with Americans. Du Bois is a great writer and this book helped start the civil rights movement. The book is non-fiction and a collection of essays, but at times he writes them as short stories. His prose are well crafted. One section I liked the best was Du Bois talking about religion, he's not a fan. He brings up how people have stereotype backs into religious folks. Not all blacks are Christian or believe in the supernatural. There are a number of them who, like Du Bois, are atheist or they are another faith. I'm glad he brings up this stereotype. I like the fact too Du Bois was a philosopher. When we hear the world "philosophy" we don't usually think of Du Bois. While he's not as popular as some of the others, he's important. As I mentioned before, the philosophy in the book helped spark the much needed civil rights movement. In my opinion, he's an import figure to know. I should note I had some mixed feelings going into this book because I've read about Zora Neale Hurston's views on Du Bois. However, as much as I like Zora, I can ignore her feud and still enjoy this book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.