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

English 10 IRP
by

Jose Fuentes

on 13 December 2012

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Transcript of The Souls of Black Folk - W.E.B Du Bois

By: W.E.B DuBois Author Background Booker T. Washington's Methods Booker T. Washington: Du Bois's solution to inequality was education; he believed that education could help the African American society to overcome all the problems that would happen in the future. William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on February 23, 1868. Born to Alfred and Mary DuBois, he was an only child. In his early childhood his parents separated, and he remained with his mother until her death in 1884. DuBois became an excellent student and he was hired as the local correspondent for the New York Globe. Through editorials and lectures, he emphasized the need for African Americans to be politically recognized. Although Du Bois stated that Washington had a huge effect on the African American society, he still criticized Washington's methods to help them because, in his opinion, they needed a stronger tone to protest. Du Bois analyzed Washington's methods and stated that Washington's ascendancy was "easily the most striking thing in the history of the American Negro since 1876" (Du Bois 35).

Washington's first plan was to "gain sympathy and cooperation of the various elements comprising the white South" (Du Bois 36). Du Bois's solution: The Souls of Black Folk Published: 1903 Reason I picked this book: I picked this book because I was very interested to know more about the African American society many years ago, how they had to live and the struggles they went through. The main topic of the book is to argue the problems of society based on racism. What intrigued me the most about the topic is how the author analyzed the problems at the time.
" The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,-the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea" (DuBois 16). He also opposed the idea of biological white superiority and vocally supported women's rights. In 1909, he co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as the editor of the association's monthly magazine, The Crisis. Du Bois was a proponent of Pan Africanism and helped organize several Pan African Congresses to free African colonies from European powers. He died on August 27, 1963 at the age of 95 in Accra, Ghana, while working on an encyclopedia of the African Diaspora. Best Known For: "W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most important African American activists during the first half of the 20th century. He co-founded the NAACP and supported Pan Africanism" (W.E.B Du Bois).

"W.E.B. Du Bois." 2012. The Biography Channel website. Dec 08 2012, 09:14. http://www.biography.com/people/web-du-bois-9279924. Video: http://www.biography.com/people/web-du-bois-9279924/videos "His programme of industrial education, conciliation of the South, and submission and silence as to civil and political rights, was not wholly original" (Du Bois 35) "Internal problems of social advance must inevitably come,-problems of work and wages, of families and homes, of morals and the true valuing of things of life; and all these inevitable problems of the civilization the Negro must meet and solve largely by himself; and can there be any possible solution other than by study and thought and appeal to the rich experience of the past? (Du Bois 80). Political Rights: African Americans at the time had close to no political rights, specially the right to vote and to be able to speak for themselves. "Of such weapons the greatest, perhaps, in the modern world is the power of the ballot; and this brings me to a consideration of the third form of contact between whites and blacks in the South,-political activity" (Du Bois 123) Young Criminals In Du Bois's opinion, the biggest problem in the South compared to the North was how young kids needed to be protected from the criminal world. "But the chief problem in any community cursed with crime is not the punishment of the criminals, but preventing of the young from being trained to crime. And here again the peculiar conditions of the South have prevented proper precautions" (Du Bois 128). The Mechanism in the South Jails and reformatories in the South did not have proper management, according to DuBois, the system and mechanism were built to deal with African Americans and not white people. "For such dealing with criminals, white or black, the South had no machinery, no adequate jails or reformatories; its police system was arranged to deal with blacks alone, and tacitly assumed that every white man was ipso facto (by that very fact) a member of that police" (Du Bois 127) The Songs of Sorrow: Du Bois explained how the African American music at the time represented the voice of all the slaves, and he also believed those songs represented their spirituals beliefs and soul. "And so by fateful chance the Negro folk-song -the rhythmic cry of the slave - stands to-day not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas" (Du Bois 178). Experts' Opinion: "While the whole book is interesting, especially to a Southerner, and while the self-restraint and temperateness of the manner of stating even things which the Southerner regards as impossibilities, deserve much praise and disarm harsh criticism, the part of the book which is more immediately concerned with an arraignment of the present plans of Booker T. Washington is for the present the most important" (New York Times). In general, I agree with most of the experts' opinion because I think the whole book is very interesting, but I think anyone would actually find it interesting, not only people from the South, because you can also find facts about the North in comparison to the South. Reflections & Recommendations Reading this book helped me understand a different perspective about racism in the 19th and 20th century compared to today's society. I can inform others about what I learned about this book, so that they can also understand the struggles of society in the past. In my opinion, everybody can enjoy reading this book because it is very easy to read, it has just the right amount of details, the way the author explains things is very interesting, and it never really gets boring because DuBois makes his point without using too much detail.
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