John Otto's Reviews > The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
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Feb 18, 12

Read from February 06 to 15, 2012

Another unexplainable gap in my education was never having read anything actually by Du Bois, although I had read plenty about him. Finally, I got around to reading this book and I was blown away. Although written more than 100 years ago, Du Bois's analysis of the race problem is spot on. Here are the opening sentences:

"Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: masked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter around it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, 'How does it feel to be a problem?' they say, 'I know an excellent colored man in my town;' or, 'I fought at Mechanicsville;' or, 'Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil?' At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, 'How does it feel to be a problem' I answer seldom a word."

It is unexcusable that it took me more than 50 years to get to this book. The loss in understanding is a pity.
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