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The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
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The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

by W. E. B. Du Bois

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
This book was interesting, but a difficult read for me. The language, while beautiful, is often rather archaic. [b:Souls of Black Folk|318742|The Souls of Black Folk|W. E. B. Dubois|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1309202855s/318742.jpg|1137159] is one of the first sociological studies done on the "Negro situation" in the United States - and being written in the time directly after the Civil War (i.e. Reconstruction period) it is contemporaneous to one of the most difficult periods to be black in the United States. All that being said, the book was pretty fascinating.

Out of the fourteen essays that comprise this book only one was fictional, and that one (The Coming of John) was a parable of being an educated black man in a small Southern town. [a:W.E.B. DuBois|10710|W.E.B. DuBois|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1211293877p2/10710.jpg] himself was a highly educated Northerner, and one feels the alienation that he must have felt when seeing the "bone of [his] bone and flesh of [his] flesh" in the South. The inability to relate and frustration is a key part of the book, and the lamentation of the situation stings even now.

From a historical standpoint, the book is important and thus something that should be read. The book is not a pleasurable read, however, and is one that I had trouble getting through. I respect it, but I don't think I can honestly say that I liked it. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
This nonfiction, essay was written in 1903 by W.E.B DuBois, a black American author, sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist. This essay talks about the problems facing blacks in America after the civil war and freedom. It even looks at how Booker T. Washington was not completely helpful in his support of black efforts. Du Bois opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. The author was the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States and was a cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Rating:
This book is nonfiction, was received as part of the summer free audio books for young people. The author made significant contribution to rights of blacks and Asians in both the US and in other colonies. This is an essay that spells out what he thinks is needed to advance African Americans. I rate it 4 (nonfiction) ( )
  Kristelh | Oct 24, 2017 |
A fairly interesting look at life - predominantly in the south - following the Civil War: a period generally known as Reconstruction. I like Du Bois's factual, yet artistic description of the failings - of the North, of the South, and even of black people to secure proper liberty following the war. ( )
  benuathanasia | Jul 21, 2017 |
Wonderful, enlightening book. I learned a lot!! ( )
  TerriS | Jul 7, 2017 |
The author's attempt, through various narratives, to assist white America in 1903 to perhaps come to a better understanding of the situation and condition of America's black population.

DuBois is a masterful author. In this book he does everything from defending the Freedmen's Bureau to describing the plight of black people in a particular county in Georgia. He speaks of his own experiences as a college student, as a teacher, and of the loss of his own child to illness. He preserves the tunes of many a song and ends his book with a chapter on such songs.

Above all things DuBois proves prophetic, declaring that the 20th century would be overshadowed by the "Negro problem" and perceiving that Reconstruction would be looked upon poorly for many generations and could only be seen in a more positive light once black America was re-enfranchised. He provides an important perspective, writing just as a new and quite powerful wave of resentment overcame the South in the form of the Jim Crow laws and even greater restrictions than before, standing a generation removed from slavery and yet with the stories of slaves still ringing in their ears, looking forward to struggle which would take the better part of the century...and after more than a century has still not come to a complete end.

Over 100 years later the book remains compelling and a valuable read for any who would still wish to explore the "souls of black folk." ( )
  deusvitae | Jul 3, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
W. E. B. Du Boisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gardiner, RodneyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hare, NathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poussaint, Alvin F.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0486280411, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:52 -0400)

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First published in 1903, this eloquent collection of essays exposed the magnitude of racism in our society. The book endures today as a classic document of American social and political history: a manifesto that has influenced generations with its transcendent vision for change.… (more)

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