Souls of Black Folk: Great Barrington Edition

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Souls of Black Folk: Great Barrington Edition

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The Souls of Black Folk is a founding text of the US civil rights movement, an inspiring work of literature and advocacy by a young man who drew on his own experience as a child in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a teacher in the hills of Tennessee, a father grieving after the death of his baby son. It is a book compiled in haste but nonetheless a command performance. The fourteen vivid essays are political, philosophical, historical, and personal. The first three explore the history of slavery, following by six chapters of sociological analysis in Du Bois’s resonant prose. The remainder of the book is replete with stories that show different facets of the Black experience and explain Du Bois’s statement that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” His concept of African American duality is, writes Henry Louis Gates Jr., his “most important gift to the Black literary tradition.”

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The Souls of Black Folk is a founding text of the US civil rights movement, an inspiring work of literature and advocacy by a young man who drew on his own experience as a child in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a teacher in the hills of Tennessee, a father grieving after the death of his baby son. It is a book compiled in haste but nonetheless a command performance. The fourteen vivid essays are political, philosophical, historical, and personal. The first three explore the history of slavery, following by six chapters of sociological analysis in Du Bois’s resonant prose. The remainder of the book is replete with stories that show different facets of the Black experience and explain Du Bois’s statement that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” His concept of African American duality is, writes Henry Louis Gates Jr., his “most important gift to the Black literary tradition.”

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