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The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

· Please analyze the selected passage below (attached):

· After reading your selected narrative, give a one-page interpretative analysis.

· That is, based on the actual reading (information or facts from the author), compose logical and sound inferences (highly probable and highly likely the best perspective as any).

· Example, A young lady is kneeling in the school hallway picking up her books; a male student is standing near her. What could have logically happened in this scenario?

· Always include your facts (what you actually saw, read or heard): One, she’s kneeling; Two, books are on the floor; Three, there’s a male student; Four, they are in the hall.

· What can you interpret to be logically what happened although you were not there?

· Substance and content matter more than the length or how long.

· Your paper must include any facts, actual information in the reading, etc.

· Please do not write a summary, please…

As he composed his most famous work, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), a few years later, Du Bois deftly combined these two distinct appeals. Advocating neither the assimilation, and consequent erasure of “Negro” distinctiveness, nor the preservation of an absolutist and damaging conception of black difference, he doggedly attacked the color line while refusing to

denigrate those who had lived their lives within it and had been defined by it. Subtly weaving the civilizationist appeals of nineteenth-century black nationalism with an insistence upon what Albert Murray has called the “incontestably mulatto” character of American culture, Du Bois effectively negotiated the double bind presented by U.S. racism at the turn of the century.4 Resisting both the segregationist implications of insisting upon black autonomy and self-activity and the assimilationist tendency to denigrate the cultural practices and history of ex-slaves, Du Bois instead asked that the nation and the world recognize the freedman as a “coworker in the kingdom of culture.”5

This work of nearly a century ago marks the beginning of one man’s immense discursive labor of racial reconstruction, spanning the decades of postemancipation disenfranchisement and imperial conquest as well as the subsequent era of decolonization and the modern civil rights movement. Yet, today, as we sit on the threshold of the twenty-first century, the condition of poor communities of color, and black communities in particular, is as dire as at any time in recent history. Standing in the shadow of the failure of the Second Reconstruction in black America, do we take courage from Du Bois’s observations and insights about the first, or simply despair?6 To whom do we address ourselves today, when calling for solutions to the crisis of black politics and theory, black life in America? Where is the “color line”? Where are the empires? How do we identify and how do we confront the calamity that befalls this generation of “black folk”? Most important, what do we make of the fact that that “crisis” of which we speak—one of Du Bois’s preferred metaphors for describing what it meant to be black at the turn of the last century—today appears not as an exception but as the rule?

The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

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