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The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk

3.7 88
by W. E. B. Du Bois

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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.�The book, published in 1903, contains several essays on race, some of which had been previously published in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Du Bois drew from his own experiences to


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.�The book, published in 1903, contains several essays on race, some of which had been previously published in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Du Bois drew from his own experiences to develop this groundbreaking work on being African-American in American society. Outside of its notable place in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works to deal with sociology.

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Cricket House Books, LLC
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Meet the Author

W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) was an African-American sociologist, civil rights activist, and author. He was one of the founding members of the NAACP, and he is well-known for believing on full civil rights and disagreeing with Booker T. Washington’s argument that blacks remain subservient. His most famous book, The Souls of Black Folk, defines the term "double-consciousness" and remains a cornerstone of African-American literature.

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The Souls of Black Folk 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
W.E.B DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk successfully elucidates the paradoxical existence of the African American. His main thesis embellishes the ¿double-consciousness¿ of the African American (an American of African heritage or the African displaced in America) and the hardships that emerge as a result. More specifically, the African American, detached from his ancestral homeland and having some significant investment in the development of this nation (i.e. slavery), longs to receive the constitutional gifts entitled to its citizens. However, because the ¿American dream¿ was conceived by and for the benefit of white Christian men of substantial wealth, and moreover, because this enabled group continuously fails or refuses to recognize their darker counterparts as equals, the African American can never truly realize his place among society. Likewise, the endless, and often fruitless, process of assimilating with mainstream American culture equates with the gradual loss of ethnic authenticity. Consequently, the African American is left at war with his own identity. Finally, DuBois exposes the socioeconomic security on behalf of white America beneath the stronghold of racism, as well as the contradictions of American values with the maintenance of social color lines . The Souls of Black Folk is presented in 14 essays, each beginning with a slave hymnal. Harvard educated DuBois employs both black vernacular and academic language, further emphasizing the duality of the African American experience. Though DuBois¿ Souls analyzes black culture in context of the early 1900s, his ideas, for the most part, hold true today and have myriad applications. Regardless of background, this text provides original and genuine insight to the American societal dynamic based on historical social investigation. I challenge you to read this work whole-heartedly and find a personal meaning! - C.G. F.
ReadingVixen67 More than 1 year ago
This book was required reading before I went to college. Ironically enough, I went to W.E.B. DuBois' Alma mater, Fisk University. Excellent read; delves deeply into what black people were looking and searching for during those times: a sense of belonging, a sense of peace within the community and within each other. An excellent manifesto!
talented_tenth More than 1 year ago
W.E.B Du Bois's book "The Souls of Black Folk" is a must read for all Americans to get a deeper more philosophical sense of what it means to be "Black in America". DuBois was a visionary who was ahead of his time. This book is often a mandatory read for African-American studies students, but should be a must read for all serious students of history. The issues DuBois highlighted and detailed at the turn of the 20th Century seem to be resurfacing at the turn of the 21st Century. The Color Line!
Jackkeg More than 1 year ago
Take the time to learn of the accomplishments of some of the relative unknowns in our history. The First Black PH.D from Harvard, De Bois looks from the perspective just north of slavery and the need to seek to understand what the future must bring. A great read for those who wish yo know more about individuals sometime segmented into a black history subject matter when his thoughts are universal and his blackness secondary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the surface this book seems to be an account of what it was like to be black in the early 1900s. It is so much more than that. It is a description of what America is, what it can be, its greatness, and its shortcomings. Here is a man who was a true American. He loved his country even as it was not fulfilling its promise to him. Amongst the gems you will find in this work: 'Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched, --criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, -- this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society.' Can we ever hear that too much? 'It is, then, the strife of all honorable men of the twentieth century to see that in the future competition of races the survival of the fittest shall mean the triumpgh of the good, the beautiful, and the true that we may be able to preserve for future civilization all that is really fine and noble and strong, and not continue to put a premium on greed and impudence and crueltly.' I don't think we're there yet. This work documents the time of the Reconstruction, something we probably know less about that we think we do. We think we know what went on, but in reality we have mostly theory. Here is someone who lived through the time and the aftermath of the civil war. He bears truer witness to it than anyone writing on the subject today. If you want to know why the state of the races is as it is, here is a book to shed light. 'One thing, however, seldom occurs: the best of the whites and the best of the Negroes almost never live in anything like close proximity. It thus happens that in nearly every Southern town and city, both whites and blacks see commonly the worst of each other.' Was it so different in the North? Is it so different today? Even with all the forced integration in the 70s? If you like American History, this is a text you should have in your bookcase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a White American, I realized almost 40 years ago that the history I was taught in school was insufficient. So, loving to read, I sought out a number of books for more information after reading Anne Frank. Before the Mayflower, the Life and times of Frederick Douglass, Diary of a Slave Girl, and the Souls of Black Folk were a few of the most outstanding works I found over the years. It seems not only informative, but also justice that these narratives be read and pondered by all of us. I haven't found the prose of any of these authors difficult to understand. If I did, I'd consider it a challenge for me, with the educational advantages I've enjoyed, to read with a dictionary handy. After all, if former slaves can overcome their ignorance in the face of numerous obstacles, surpassing the reading /writing level of the average American today, what does that say about us? The Souls of Black Folks isn't difficult to comprehend, but it is sometimes difficult to stomach. I find myself wanting to go back in time, and treat Black people with justice and equality. I wonder what it will take for us to wake up,and change our attitudes toward our fellow men. How can we say we love God, whom we never see, if we don't love our fellow man, whom we see every day?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
African American Literature!  Composed of several essays discussing race, W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk effectively explains the the existence of the Negro in America. Within these essays that compose the book, DuBois mainly exemplifies the difficulties that African Americans pertain in an American society. These difficulties that DuBois explains throughout the book mainly comes under the accepting of ones rights that were entitled to them. But, because of  their skin, as well as their previous existence (i.e. slaves), the superiority (i.e. whites) turned a blind eye towards them. DuBois explains how by this fact:  African Americans will never truly find themselves as equals in society if such continues to occur. Hence, DuBois reasons that with this constant  ingratiation towards the white man, and trying to acquiesce with his culture, only leads to a misunderstanding of the intrinsic ethnicity of African Americans. Finally, DuBois uncovers the truth about the White America involving race. In every essay composed within the book, you will find the reality of the African American citizen of that time, as well as their rationale on such matter. This book is for ones who are willing to know about the thinking of the Black man from a single-minded view. This book will truly change the thoughts of those who read it. I hope you enjoy the reading!  
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
Du Bois engages one with his erudition and his use of African American Spirituals to set off each essay. He closes the book with a reflection specifically on these spirituals. He makes clear several aspects of American and slavery history and presents interesting perspectives and criticisms of other important figures, such as Booker T. Washington. I found this book greatly insightful not only on the times and social milieu of Du Bois but also for current times. I highly recommend this book for all interested in this history and especially for all non-African Americans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Souls of Black Folk I heard a voice of a my people intrenched in a what seemed to be a temporary situation but sad to say relevant in today's community and societies as a whole. Double consciousness still a major issue, "but our dogged strength alone keeps us from being torn asunder..." This book was riveting, I have the physical copy that is old and worn and on its 15th read, so I figured I'd by the Nook copy so I will always have it on my MAC and ready for me to peruse!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A highly recommended book for all blacks to read, it is a must, Mr. Dubois speaks from the soul and manifest what is in the minds of most black 'folks'. Speaks on the conditions of slavery and its effects on an entire people. All whites and republicans should read this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
W.E.B. DuBois was a pioneer of African American literature and thought. This book of essays will Make you rethink the progress and status of African Americans throughout America's history, and will help you understand and sympathize much more. this book has some disturbing anti-semiotic passages in it. I find it strange that DuBois can so effectively and reasonably argue for the equality of African-Americans while so irrationally claims such anti-Semitic comments. Except for this problem, (which should not be overlooked), the book is very important and powerful, and it did and continues to do a lot for the advancement of African-Americans in the US. It is sort of like a guide for an African America who is lost and does not really understand who he is. DuBios presents his information in a chronological and straightforward manner. I would recommend this book to truth seekers and soul searchers!
TulaneGirl 19 days ago
Really sad that at no time in my education - and I've had 7 years of college and graduate school training - was I required to read this book. Finally got around to reading it and it is in amazing book. This is a collection of 14 essays that give incredible insight into the African-American experience after Restoration during Jim Crow. Not only is it a must read, it's also a repeat read.
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CLT43 More than 1 year ago
Good read in my view!
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