The Souls Of Black Folk Review

Topics: African American, Black people, W. E. B. Du Bois Pages: 5 (1017 words) Published: March 22, 2015

The Souls of Black Folk Review
Stephen Fortson
Tiffin University

W.E.B. Du Bois is one of not only the greatest American philosophers but African American philosophers brought up during the Civil Rights era. Du Bois born in Barrington, Massachusetts to a mother and father that were a part of the free black population. During this particular time of the 1800s, blacks had no rights for the most part until the end of the Civil war, and even then segregation limited the amount of equality distributed to blacks. During the midst of this Du Bois progressed educationally, graduating from Fisk University where he first experienced Jim Crow Laws, and 7 years later receiving his masters from Harvard University, an achievement no other black had ever accomplished. Du Bois a known radical and philosopher created a path of achievements that no black had ever done at the time, and created a number of essays known as “The Souls of Black Folk” that shed light on his educational journey.

Though blacks were emancipated from slavery in the late 1800s after the Civil War, blacks were still treated unequally often as animals, in the Forethought of The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois unveils a term defined as the “Veil” that will be very important for readers to understand before moving forward. The “Veil” described by Du Bois is another way of identifying blacks, though deemed as Americans, blacks from a social stand point were not seen as Americans like whites and able to enjoy the same rights such as higher education or voting. Blacks bared two identities that still continue to rarely be separated. Though society claimed slavery was over, the abolishment of slavery merely meant that racism, socialism, and segregation would begin to thrive.

During the first essay of the book, Du Bois encounters an issue that later on shaped his educational philosophy from that point on. Growing up in the north were schools were integrated, Du Bois experienced a situation a particular moment where he was treated unequally. During this particular event a student was unwilling to work with Du Bois because he was a person of color, and it was then that he developed the educational mindset that the pursuit of education would empower him, later on he expressed that education would lead to the empowerment of the black people. The issue at this time was the fact that education was not offered to everyone. This particular issue was very hard to pass on to other blacks due to the fact that during this era of time blacks were being lynched often for attempting to live as whites lived, and because of this many blacks were terrified to even attempt to attend schools. This is why Du Bois began to stress that blacks deserve the same rights as whites not only to be able to eat at the same places, or enjoy a cigar with fellow whites, but also to be educated enough to make an inclined decision when it came to voting.

One of the major essays published in the Souls of Black folk is titled, “Mr. Booker T Washington and Others.” This portion of the book displays Du Bois true views about education equality for blacks. Washington an up and coming activist wanted blacks to do away with their civil rights, instead of attempting to fight for equality within education and voting, Washington believed that blacks should focus only on industrial education. Washington believed that if blacks could develop themselves personally, then it did not matter what their relationship status was with whites. This was a tremendous problem with Du Bois, as he believed that this was further oppressing blacks. While Washington believed that blacks should give up higher education, Du Bois believed that a liberal education was the only way for a black person to survive in society. Du Bois went on to express, how blacks can progress economically without having the opportunity to receive education, or even vote. Du Bois gracefully pointed out that many of...

References: Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co.; [Cambridge]: University Press John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A., 1903;, 1999.
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