The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk

W.E.B. Du Bois

Language: English

Pages: 124

ISBN: 1505223377

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology, and a cornerstone of African-American literary history. To develop this groundbreaking work, Du Bois drew from his own experiences as an African-American in the American society. Outside of its notable relevance in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works in the field of sociology.

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regarded freedom as perpetual rest,—the Devil and the Deep Sea. In the work of establishing the Negroes as peasant proprietors, the Bureau was from the first handicapped and at last absolutely checked. Something was done, and larger things were planned; abandoned lands were leased so long as they remained in the hands of the Bureau, and a total revenue of nearly half a million dollars derived from black tenants. Some other lands to which the nation had gained title were sold on easy terms, and

“Edgar is gone,” said the mother, with head half bowed,—“gone to work in Nashville; he and his father couldn’t agree.” Little Doc, the boy born since the time of my school, took me horseback down the creek next morning toward Farmer Dowell’s. The road and the stream were battling for mastery, and the stream had the better of it. We splashed and waded, and the merry boy, perched behind me, chattered and laughed. He showed me where Simon Thompson had bought a bit of ground and a home; but his

thinking than from over-education and over-refinement ? Surely we have wit enough to found a Negro college so manned and equipped as to steer successfully between the dilettante and the fool. We shall hardly induce black men to believe that if their stomachs be full, it matters little about their brains. They already dimly perceive that 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

leadership, mob violence, racial ignorance, and governmental neglect frustrate these desires. African Americans’ frustrations are best expressed in the failure of Reconstruction, the rise of industrial education, and the tragic figures of Du Bois’s deceased child and Alexander Crummell and the fictional John, but perhaps the greatest metaphor of thwarted desire lies in the text’s women and their cries for freedom: the grandmother’s captivity song, Josie’s desire for higher education in “Of the

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? 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

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