The Souls of Black Folk

by W. E. B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of African–American literature by activist W.E.B. Du Bois. 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.

Source: Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The souls of black folk. Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Co.

The Forethought
The author gives the reader some insight to into the purpose of his book.
Chapter 1: Of Our Spiritual Strivings
Du Bois introduces the struggles and strives of the Negro over the course of history.
Chapter 2: Of the Dawn of Freedom
Du Bois discusses the period of history from 1861 to 1872, as it relates to the American Negro.
Chapter 3: Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others
Du Bois analyzes the effect Booker T. Washington had on the American Negroes and whites.
Chapter 4: Of the Meaning of Progress
Du Bois reflects on his experiences teaching in a school in the hills of Tennessee.
Chapter 5: Of the Wings of Atalanta
Du Bois discusses the significance of the city of Atlanta.
Chapter 6: Of the Training of Black Men
Du Bois discusses the various education systems in place for the black men.
Chapter 7: Of the Black Belt
Du Bois discusses Albany, the heart of the Black Belt of the South.
Chapter 8: Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece
Du Bois remarks on the cotton-mills in the South.
Chapter 9: Of the Sons of Master and Man
Du Bois discusses the progression of the black man after emancipation.
Chapter 10: Of the Faith of the Fathers
Du Bois discusses the religious growth of the black man.
Chapter 11: Of the Passing of the First Born
Du Bois tells about his son who died as a young baby.
Chapter 12: Of Alexander Crummell
Du Bois tells the story of Alexander Crummell.
Chapter 13: Of the Coming of John
Du Bois tells the story of John Jones.
Chapter 14: Of the Sorrow Songs
Du Bois explains and presents the Sorrow Songs of the olden days.
The Afterthought
Du Bois delivers a final message to the reader.
  • Year Published: 1903
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 10.2
  • Word Count: 72,105
  • Genre: Essay
  • Keywords: 20th century literature, african american literature, american literature, w. e. b. du bois
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