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The Soul of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois

W. E. B Du Bois the soul of black folk is a collection is fourteen essays written a hundred years ago. They follow a time after the emancipation proclamation was passed and follows the lives of former slaves while addressing issues related to life, religion, prosperity and race relations. Certain essays are written from a historical viewpoint while others take the form of short stories. The truly unique aspect of Du Bois book is that being an African American living in these times his viewpoint is different from other historians.

He writes with a great deal more clarity regarding the difficulties and the racial injustices faced by his people during this time period, making it clear from the onset of this book that the man is not hesitant to share his viewpoints. Given the attitudes that were prevalent during the time he wrote these stories it is not only a wonder that he not only takes important steps toward giving a more positive viewpoint on black culture but also making its intricacies more accessible to the general public.

In order to help the reader understand the unseen barriers that existed between the Caucasian and African American societies at the time he introduces us to the concept of the veil. He speaks of it as a land where hope exists but people do not dare hope and where their granted freedoms are merely illusions. He not only speaks of the injustices faced by newly freed slaves, he also speaks of the inconsistencies in economics facing his people.

How southerners found legal ways of denying his people their rights as free citizens. He argues that the only way the black community will come out of their difficulties to embrace their heritage and to become an example of strong intellectual professionals that can lead their race forward and help them become more constructive members of their own society. He also recounts several instances from his own lifetime speaking of children who due to these injustices never reached their full potential.

Though some escaped their fates most were relegated to paying off their debts or turning to a life of crime. The book also contains a commentary which speaks of how the supremacy of the whites came into being and how different it is from the original concept of slavery introduced by the Arabs. However it must be noted that parts of the book speak of the same subject matter within the same setting.

“Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece” and “Of the Black Belt,” both discuss the topic of cotton farming in the south and offers details that though unique in each story also overlap with each other quite a bit. Though in many ways both of them are strategically situated to show how the system that is in place in the United States is biased and ensures the failures of his people. Even when they find the strength to persevere the shortcomings within the understandings of both races stand in their way.

This book is a very important reminder of the social and political injustices that were prevalent not only before the struggle for civil rights began in the 60s but also in the world today. That beyond the attention and rights given by society to African Americans There is still the illusion of freedom that never truly becomes reality. References Bois, W. E. (1994). The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Dover Publications.

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