Analyzing Du Bois' Souls Of Black Folk Essay

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Analyzing Du Bois' Souls of Black Folk Du Bois begins his work by unequivocably stating his objective; his goal is to represent what it is like to be black in America at the beginning of the twentieth century because he is convinced that race is the central problem of the century to come. He states this in his forethought and follows with a loose thematic grouping of the essays to follow. The first three chapters in The Souls of Black Folk address historical and political issues. He begins ‘‘Of Our Spiritual Strivings’’ with a provocative question underlying all other questions posed to him: ‘‘How does it feel to be a problem?’’ The essay addresses this fundamental question in a discussion of the contradictions inherent in the process of ‘‘striving.” Here Du Bois discusses efforts made toward winning the ballot and literacy and outlines the topics to follow in what amounts to an extended prologue. ‘‘Of the Dawn of Freedom'' is a straightforward history of the ways the U.S. government attempted to deal with the ‘‘problem” of African Americans just before, during, and after the Civil War over the years 1861 through 1872. The essay amounts to an even-handed analysis of the policies of the Freedmen's Bureau, including both strengths and... A collection of fourteen prose pieces by W. E. B.Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk had a powerful impact on African American intellectual life when it appeared in 1903. Thirty years later, James Weldon Johnson declared that it “had a greater effect upon and within the Negro race in America” than any book since Harriet Beecher Stowe's epochal Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). The collection included nine pieces previously published in some form in magazines, notably the prestigious Atlantic Monthly. Five new pieces rounded out this racial portrait, which reflects the remarkable breadth of Du Bois's interests, training, and temperament.

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