Music And Dance In W. E. B. Du Bois The Souls Of Black Folk

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The African American culture has seen many transformations starting within Africa and evolving through their history into America. The history of the African spirit within America is a unique tale combining faith and struggle to create a group of people that is trying to find themselves in a society that was not made for them. One key element that remains constant in the studies of African religions is the use of music and dance. Within W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, this element is easily seen in how he structures his book to include a piece of musical score at the beginning of his chapters and at the end of the book as a whole. The use of music in this way by Du Bois reflects the idea of music as a language for the African American…show more content…
Within this text by Olaudah Equiano, he tells the story of his life from his abduction from African into slavery to his adult life as a free man. As a child in the new world of European customs, he is forced to translate the world around him in the only language that he knows, his African culture. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores this idea in “The Trope of the Talking Book” by discussing how when Equiano, at a young age, sees someone reading a book and does not understand being illiterate…show more content…
Through tales of other African Americans defining themselves and the world around them, like Olaudah Equiano, we are able to see how difficult it can be to translate a new world in a language that is completely alien to your environment, but entirely familiar to the subject. This conflict of translation is often times compensated using a familiar bridge from African cultures like music. Through music, the African Americans make a place of themselves in a new world, helping make it a little more familiar. Work Cited Du Boise, W.e.b. The Souls of Black People. New York: The Modern Library, 2003. Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself. Ed. Werner Sollors. New York: Norton and Company, 2001. Keller, Mary. "Religion, Discourse, and Hermeneutics: New Approaches in the Study of Religion by Charles Long."

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