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About W. E. B. Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community.
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This classic groundbreaking work of American literature first published in 1903 is a cornerstone of African-American literary history and a seminal work in the field of sociology.
W.E.B. Du Bois, who drew from his own experiences as an African-American living in American society, explores the concept of "double-consciousness"-a term he uses to describe living as an African-American and having a "sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others."
With Du Bois' examination of Black life in post-Civil War America, his explanation of the meaning of emancipation and its effect, and his views on the roles of the black leaders of his time, The Souls of Black Folk is one of the important early works in the field of sociology. His fourteen essays have had a lasting impact on civil rights and the discussion of race in the United States. The essays include these topics:
- "OUR" SPIRITUAL STRIVINGS
- THE DAWN OF FREEDOM
- MEANING OF PROGRESS
- TRAINING OF BLACK MEN
- THE SONS OF MASTER AND MAN
- FAITH OF THE FATHERS
- SORROW SONGS
- AND MORE
Black Reconstruction in America tells and interprets the story of the twenty years of Reconstruction from the point of view of newly liberated African Americans. Though lambasted by critics at the time of its publication in 1935, Black Reconstruction has only grown in historical and literary importance. In the 1960s it joined the canon of the most influential revisionist historical works. Its greatest achievement is weaving a credible, lyrical historical narrative of the hostile and politically fraught years of 1860-1880 with a powerful critical analysis of the harmful effects of democracy, including Jim Crow laws and other injustices. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by David Levering Lewis, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history.
The book contains several essays on race, some of which had been published earlier in The Atlantic Monthly. To develop this work, Du Bois drew from his own experiences as an African American in American society. Outside of its notable relevance in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works in the field of sociology.
In The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois used the term "double consciousness", perhaps taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson ("The Transcendentalist" and "Fate"), applying it to the idea that black people must have two fields of vision at all times. They must be conscious of how they view themselves, as well as being conscious of how the world views them.
The Wisdom Library invites you on a journey through the lives and works of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders. Compiled by scholars, this series presents excerpts from the most important and revealing writings of the most remarkable minds of all time.
THE WISDOM OF W.E.B. DU BOIS
“Throughout history, the powers of single blacks flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote of W.E.B. Du Bois, “History cannot ignore [him] because history has to reflect truth, and Dr. Du Bois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people.” Du Bois was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (1896). A brilliant writer and speaker, he was the outstanding African-American intellectual of his time. His lifelong active struggle for racial equality and civil rights resulted in the founding of both the Niagara Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As editor of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, Du Bois presented the literary genius of many of the Harlem Renaissance’s most compelling voices; and his own works—the sociological study The Philadelphia Negro and his famous 1903 treatise, The Souls of Black Folk—eloquently delineated the African-American struggle for identity in America. During his lifetime, Du Bois was a powerful force in academia, literature, civil rights, and the peace movement. Using excerpts from his many books as well as from articles, essays, poems, letters, and speeches, The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois provides a telling portrait of the man and his groundbreaking ideas. It is a tribute to a voice that would not be silenced and to a pioneer who, in his passion for justice movingly declared, “the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.”
Included here are Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, W. E. B.
Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, and Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. These stirring accounts, significant testaments to our nation's past together in one volume, belong on the bookshelves of everyone interested in African-American history.
In 1924, in response to the pursuit of increasingly racist policies in the United States, W. E. B. Du Bois published a groundbreaking collection of essays that challenged the existing prejudices about Black people and provided a fuller accounting of Black contributions to American life.
The accomplishments that Du Bois chronicles here—in art, literature, economics, religion, industry, the military, and more—are stunning, especially considering the obstacles facing Black Americans. Du Bois makes the case that, collectively, Black Americans offer the fullest realization of the goal of democracy. Without these men and women, Du Bois argued, “America as we know it would have been impossible.”
Du Bois’s edifying work stands as an essential contribution to the history of the African American experience and an enduring testament to the importance of equality for all.
Revised edition: Previously published as The Gift of Black Folk, this edition of The Gift of Black Folk (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.
First published in 1899 at the dawn of sociology, The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study is a landmark in empirical sociological research. Du Bois was the first sociologist to document the living circumstances of urban Black Americans. The Philadelphia Negro provides a framework for studying black communities, and it has steadily grown in importance since its original publication. Today, it is an indispensable model for sociologists, historians, political scientists, anthropologists, educators, philosophers, and urban studies scholars. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by Lawrence Bobo, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history and sociology.
Dusk of Dawn, published in 1940, is an explosive autobiography of the foremost African American scholar of his time. Du Bois writes movingly of his own life, using personal experience to elucidate the systemic problem of race. He reflects on his childhood, his education, and his intellectual life, including the formation of the NAACP. Though his views eventually got him expelled from the association, Du Bois continues to develop his thoughts on separate black economic and social institutions in Dusk of Dawn. Readers will find energetic essays within these pages, including insight into his developing Pan-African consciousness. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history.
Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line. I pray you, then, receive my little book in all charity, studying my words with me, forgiving mistake and foible for sake of the faith and passion that is in me, and seeking the grain of truth hidden there. I have sought here to sketch, in vague, uncertain outline, the spiritual world in which ten thousand thousand Americans live and strive.