Natalie's Reviews > The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
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Jan 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 09-10, nonfiction
Read in January, 2010

In The Souls of Black Folk W. E. B. Du Bois, a national leader in the reconstruction and civil rights movement, explores the unique hardships and passions of freemen. He captured the life and thought of African Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were freed from slavery, but not give all the rights of a free white man. These “free men of color” were trapped in a no man's land, so to speak, of citizenship. Du Bois’ passion concerning the dilemmas of his race was evident in his ardent and elegant writing. The following is my favorite passage of the book, because it illustrates the beautiful message and style of his writing.
The history of the American Negro is the history of its strife,--this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging his wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being crush and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.
This passage speaks for itself. As you can see, Du Bois was a brilliant writer and thinker. His works are an invaluable resource for the study of the early civil rights movement, and an enriching piece of American literature.
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