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

(1903)

Audience

The audience for The Souls of Black Folk was broad. Several of the essays had already appeared in the Atlantic magazine, one of the nation’s leading mainstream publications. Accordingly, the book attracted attention from both the black and the white intelligentsia and went through several editions. The author’s purposes were to convince white readers of the essential humanity of African Americans and to promote among black readers a new consciousness. Virtually any writer, white or black, writing on race issues during the early decades of the twentieth century would have read and paid tribute to Du Bois and his book, and even in the twenty-first century the book is still regarded as a classic—and its ideas are still debated.

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

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