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

(1903)

In 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois published the classic book for which he is most remembered, The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. A groundbreaking study of the African American community from a sociological perspective, the book outlines for both black and white readers the position of African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century. The Souls of Black Folk was in large part a repudiation of the views of Booker T. Washington, the black leader who urged other blacks to pursue economic equality before trying to gain political and social equality. Du Bois, in contrast, urged African Americans to develop a “black consciousness” based on an appreciation of their own unique art, culture, religious views, and history and to continue to pursue civil rights. In Chapter III, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others,” Du Bois takes on the rift between Washington’s accommodationist views and a more assertive, militant view of African American aspirations. The Souls of Black...

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W. E. B. Du Bois (Library of Congress)

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