With a striking new introduction written by Atlantic journalist Vann R. Newkirk II and riveting artwork from printmaker Steve Prince, Restless Classics' new edition of The Souls of Black Folk is presented—in all its relevancy—as a crucial work of sociology that is applicable to the current political, economic and social climate more than a century later. To understand the driving force behind today’s current Black liberation movement, to recognize the historic pattern and large scope of state violence against communities of color, to dissect the most recent wave of white nationalism surging through the nation is to know the duality of African-American life presented by W.E.B Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk. Hailed as the bedrock of any examination on Blackness in America—from literature to front-line resistance—the century-old exploration of 'the color line' stands unblemished by time, its wholeness applying fully to the era of Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump. Presented by Restless Classics, with a pointed introduction by journalist Vann R. Newkirk II, the newest edition of Du Bois’ work presents itself through the lens of today’s political and social climate, highlighting the ugly truth that white supremacy’s roots still grip America and serving as an introduction to a generation fighting a familiar battle for liberation, one that our elders have already witnessed . . . Newkirk’s introduction . . . examines the immortality of what can be considered the most important piece of literature to date.”
—Christina Coleman, Essence
“Dr. Du Bois was not only an intellectual giant exploring the frontiers of knowledge, he was in the first place a teacher. He would have wanted his life to teach us something about our tasks of emancipation. One idea he insistently taught was that black people have been kept in oppression and deprivation by a poisonous fog of lies that depicted them as inferior, born deficient and deservedly doomed to servitude to the grave . . . Dr. Du Bois recognized that the keystone in the arch of oppression was the myth of inferiority and he dedicated his brilliant talents to demolish it.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Du Bois . . . wrote knowing full well that what he said was neither palatable nor negotiable, that a large portion of the country would not be swayed, and that the truth, in and of itself, must be enough. It is often said that this space lacks for hope. Here is your bone for the day: In the academy, Du Bois was victorious. He did not live to see that victory, but it is his view on the centrality of white supremacy that now carries the day.”
“What Dr. Du Bois showed is that he had enormous courage. I would encourage young men and women, black and white and Asian and Spanish speaking and all, all to look at Dr. Du Bois and realize that courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can’t be consistently fair or kind or generous or forgiving any of those without courage.”
"Du Bois's most important gift to the black literary tradition is, without question, the concept of the duality of the African-American, expressed metaphorically in his elated metaphors of ‘double-consciousness’ and the ‘veil.’”
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“The impact of The Souls of Black Folk on black American writing, and on writing about black America, is all the clearer. The descent of the imaginative treatments of two-ness, invisibility, and the magic behind the veil, from Ellison to Baldwin to Morrison, has by now become a stock theme in accounts of modern American literature. But the book’s radicalism, its astonishing precocity, hardly ends there. It would take more than fifty years for mainstream American historical writing to catch up with Du Bois’ insight about the resilience and spiritual depth of the slaves’ culture, and about the benefits of Reconstruction and the ex-slaves’ role in achieving those benefits . . . And historians have only begun to comprehend and amplify Du Bois’ claim that American culture has been marked, indeed defined, by black people’s presence.”
“Du Bois is the brook of fire through which we all must pass in order to gain access to the intellectual and political weaponry needed to sustain the radical democratic tradition in our time.”
“I never emulated white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Du Bois and Mandela.”