The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois

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by W. E. B. Du Bois

Non-fiction African-American studies Essays Racial identity Double consciousness The veil Emancipation Education African-American history

5 hours 47 minutes

The Souls of Black Folk is an essay written by W. E. B. Du Bois and published in 1903. It is a work in the field of sociology and one of the pillars of African-American literature.

The book contains several essays on race which are based on Du Bois's own experiences as an African American in American society.

In the book, each chapter is headed by an epigraph, usually a quote from a European poet, accompanied by a transcription of the melody of a black spiritual song about themes such as sadness, suffering or hope.

He asserts that it is undignified to beg for the black race the rights that inherently belong to all mankind. He also takes issue with the adaptation strategy proposed by Booker T. Washington, then the most influential black leader, as it would only serve to perpetuate black oppression.

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.


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Students of history Readers interested in civil rights Scholars of African-American culture

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About W. E. B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. ...

We have 3 books by W. E. B. Du Bois in Alice and Books library

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The best The Souls of Black Folk quotes

Then, as the storm burst round him, he rose slowly to his feet and turned his closed eyes toward the Sea. And the world whistled in his ears.


One ever feels his twoness,β€”an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.


Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor, β€” all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked, β€” who is good? not that men are ignorant, β€” what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.


The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land.


Only those who have watched and guided the faltering feet, the misty minds, the dull understands, of the dark pupils of these schools know how faithfully, how piteously, this people strove to learn.

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