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The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions)

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9780486280417: The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions)
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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 criticises 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 WEB Du Bois' commitment and foresight--and the intellectual excellence expressed in this timeless literary gem--black Americans can today look in the mirror and rejoice in their beautiful black, brown and beige reflections. --Eugene Holley Jr

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"Given that thousands of pages have been written on Du Bois and his magnum opus, it is truly remarkable that Holloway manages to convey the richness and diversity of both man and text in so short a space. The introduction does an excellent job arguing for the continued relevance of Du Bois in our contemporary 'post-racial' world." --Nico Slate, Carnegie Mellon University

"W.E.B. Du Bois' Souls of Black Folk is one of the most iconic texts of the twentieth century. But Jonathan Scott Holloway's graceful new introduction brings Souls forward to a new generation as more than a primary source of our racial past, now serving as a scythe to help cut through the maddening claims of a post-racial present. Holloway powerfully asserts that "a 'post racial consciousness' is a false consciousness," while DuBois' prophetic diagnosis of a color line continues to ail the world today as much as ever before."--Davarian L. Baldwin, author of Chicago's New Negroes

"Jonathan Holloway introduces W. E. B. Du Bois' 1903 classic for our time, when visions of a 'post-racial' America clash with the enduring centrality of what Du Bois termed 'the problem of the color-line.' We need Du Bois now more than ever, and an edition of The Souls of Black Folk that provides the context and the catalyst for connecting Du Bois's ideas to our present circumstances will be invaluable in my classroom and, undoubtedly, in many others."--Adam Bradley, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Given that thousands of pages have been written on Du Bois and his magnum opus, it is truly remarkable that Holloway manages to convey the richness and diversity of both man and text in so short a space. The introduction does an excellent job arguing for the continued relevance of Du Bois in our contemporary 'post-racial' world."--Nico Slate, Carnegie Mellon University

"W.E.B. Du Bois' Souls of Black Folk is one of the most iconic texts of the twentieth century. But Jonathan Scott Holloway's graceful new introduction brings Souls forward to a new generation as more than a primary source of our racial past, now serving as a scythe to help cut through the maddening claims of a post-racial present. Holloway powerfully asserts that 'a "post racial consciousness" is a false consciousness, ' while DuBois' prophetic diagnosis of a color line continues to ail the world today as much as ever before."--Davarian L. Baldwin, author of Chicago's New Negroes

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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