W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (). 2. CHAPTER I. Of Our Spiritual Strivings. O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand, All night long crying with . Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of. An Analysis of W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk Jason Xidias DUBOIS BOOK homeranking.info 1 24/06/ Ways In to the text KEY POINTS • the.
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The Souls of Black Folk. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Chapter 1. I. Of Our Spiritual Strivings. O water, voice of my heart, crying in the. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. B. Du Bois This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.
With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences: Washington who believed that blacks would gain the respect of whites when they turned all their attention to economic goals. Washington see Springer in this volume. It consists of 14 essays on racism, some of which had already been published in the literary and cultural magazine, the Atlantic Monthly. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads.
Taken collectively what type of picture does he create about life in the Jim Crow South? DuBois 13 4. What does Du Bois envision to be the role of black leaders?
What advantages or limitations might there be to his ideas? What is Dougherty County like today? What are current economic conditions? To what extent do you see evidence of the long term impact of racial discrimination on the county? Students can begin their research by reviewing key characteristics of Dougherty County as described by Du Bois, individually or as a whole class.
Next, direct students to the U. Census information website about the county at: Teachers may direct students to pay particu- lar attention to statistics that might reveal the socio-cultural characteristics of the county, e.
Students can also explore the oicial website of the county at: Ask students to consider whether markers of the color line that Du Bois cited e. Du Bois provides evidence of changes in African American religious practices over time, identifying critical episodes during slavery, the rise of the aboli- tion movement, and emancipation from slavery. Holding in that little head—ah, bitterly! According to Du Bois, why were religion and the church so important to African Ameri- cans during slavery and after emancipation?
How did the ethics of the black man in America change from slavery to abolition? What were the two ethical tendencies of blacks at the beginning of the twentieth century, according to Du Bois? Choose one example from the text that creates a clear impression on you about what Du Bois experienced and witnessed and then describe what emotions and images are depicted. Why did Du Bois choose to include this chapter about a deeply personal experience in his book?
How does Chapter XI connect to the larger themes and arguments of the text? Identify an example of this from the text. Display this quote from Du Bois and ask students to write a brief journal entry detailing their opinions about the best means to resist oppression. Next provide students with access to the following web-based resources which focus on violent rebellion of the time: DuBois 15 unIT vI: Using the narrative framing of three temptations, Du Bois paints a portrait of a deeply religious and moral man who sufered racial prejudice and discrimination from within his own church.
Ultimately Du Bois decries that Crummell was little known in his time and today , despite his great potential and his leadership within the black community.
John, a young black man from southeast Georgia, leaves home with great promise to go to school at the Wells Institute. Du Bois describes his slow, almost painful evolution from an easy going, good-natured young man into a serious thinker.
Ironically, his coming of age is paralleled with that of a white playmate also named John, whom he encounters later in life with tragic results. And herein lies the tragedy of the age: He had come to save his people, and before he left the depot he had hurt them. He sought to teach them at the church, and had outraged their deepest feelings.
He had schooled himself to be respectful to the Judge, and then blundered into his front door. And all the time he had meant right,—and yet, and yet, somehow he found it so hard and strange to it his old surroundings again, to ind his place in the world about him.
He could not remember that he used to have any diiculty in the past, when life was glad and gay. In what ways does Crummell overcome these trials? What factors con- tributed to this alienation?
What are the implications of this portrait for understanding the challenges for education and social change in the Jim Crow South? How do they illustrate arguments he makes in earlier chapters of the text? Who was Alexander Crummell? Ask students to conduct research about Crummell and then write an opinion piece or editorial describing his signiicance in American history.
Are not these gifts worth the giving? Is not this work and striving? Would America have been America without her Negro people? Ask students to visit a variety of websites to learn about the history of Negro Spirituals, the various types of spirituals, and the success and contributions of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in present- ing the powerful message of these spirituals to the world.
Provide students with the following URLs: How did Negro Spirituals serve as a form of resistance for those enslaved? How would you evaluate the success and impact of the Fisk Jubilee Singers? Negro Spiritual Listening Activity Listening to the songs of a people can give us insight into their history, values, and culture. Students can research the songs online and ask the following questions: What is the message of each song? In what ways do the songs express emotions?
What emotions dominate the songs they have selected? How did the songs serve blacks, both as slaves and freedmen? Du Bois and the history of the period in which he wrote as well as to make contemporary connections. When Du Bois wrote about his views of progress and the role of education, the United States was experiencing a period of time known as the Progressive Era.
To what extent did his views about progress and education typify the thinking of the time? See for example: According to Martin Luther King, Jr. Du Bois because history has to relect 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. Johnson and the Black Experience in the U. Johnson , who was born in Florence, SC. Unrecognized for his talent as an artist during his life, his works were discovered after his death and displayed by the Smithsonian and regional museums in the South.
A concise biography of Johnson can be found at: Du Bois and Other African American Leaders and Intellectu- als of His Time hree black leaders of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are often compared, W. Du Bois, Booker T.
Washington, and Marcus Garvey. Direct students in partners or individually to study the following resources in order to ill out the information chart. Students can report their indings to the whole group and as a class identify areas of agreement and disagreement in the thinking of these African American leaders. Du Bois: Washington http: Are there modern equivalents to the ideas of each of these leaders in the contemporary ight for civil rights?
DuBois 19 Booker T. Ask students to examine several resources and key quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. Ask stu- dents to consider: What do these leaders have in common? In what ways are their messages for racial equality, peace, and freedom similar or diferent? How are their leadership styles similar or diferent from that of Du Bois? Hate cannot drive out hate: We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever afects one directly, afects all indirectly.
Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity. The Talented Tenth vs. No others can do this work and Negro colleges must train men for it.
After both sides have presented, pairs should change advocacy roles and defend the views of the opposite leader, using their reading and information from the presentation.
Finally, students drop their advocacy roles and draft a consensus statement with an appropriate his- torical argument about the best approach to African American education after the Civil War. For more information about structured academic controversy see the multiple resources online, including: Du Bois and President Barack Obama President Barack Obama has been favorably compared to Du Bois for the similarities in their personal biographies both had absent fathers , their educational backgrounds both attended Harvard , and their experiences as black leaders.
What is similar and distinct about the lives and philosophies of W. Du Bois and Barack Obama? Provide evidence to support your response. Ask students to examine the archives of he Crisis from its inception in through the irst decade, at http: Students should take note of the topics and issues presented in the various volumes and consider the following questions: Provide evidence to support your answer.
Booker T. Washington, W. Both Washington and Du Bois found the success of blacks in Durham uplifting for the future goals and aspirations of blacks living in the South.
After their visits to Durham both Washington and Du Bois spoke and wrote about their experiences and observations of the city. Ask students to read the commentaries of Washington and Du Bois and using a Venn Diagram document the similarities and diferences in their assessment of black Durham.
Students may consider the following questions when reading the articles: Her research focuses on digital history, technology integration, and action research for the professional development of teachers. A former 8th-grade social studies teacher, her research interests include critical race theory, citizenship education, and racial identity devel- opment in social studies education.
Her email address is cgsimmon ncsu. She serves on various editorial and professional boards and is the president of the Language Experience Special Interest Group of the Interna- tional Reading Association and editor of its on-line journal. Thought and Afterthought breadth of view which the more cosmopolitan races have.
The Souls of Black Folk is a series of fourteen essays written under various circumstances and for different purposes during a period of seven years. It has, therefore, considerable, perhaps too great, diversity. There are bits of history and biography, some description of scenes and persons, something of controversy and criticism, some statistics and a bit of storytelling. All this leads to rather abrupt transitions of style, tone and viewpoint and, too, without doubt, to a distinct sense of incompleteness and sketchiness.
Through all the book runs a personal and intimate tone of self-revelation.
In each essay I sought to speak from within—to depict a world as we see it who dwell therein. In thus giving up the usual impersonal and judicial attitude of the traditional author I have lost in authority but gained in vividness. Along the way Du Bois bears direct witness as both observer and participant to the world of segregation or Jim Crow in which the mass of African Americans lived at the start of the twentieth century.
But in the second half the book shifts its ground: At this fairly late stage Du Bois had clearly settled on a plan for the book which included only thirteen chapters. A good deal of new material was added in some cases, and themes heightened by new endings. The deft intertwining in Souls of personal life and a broad survey of the lives of the mass of African Americans, on both sides of the veil in both the past and the present, is akin to the blend of individual and collective history which is a characteristic of the Romantic genre of Bildungsbiogra- phie.
As the book moves from the New England North to the South of the Black Belt, it moves along the spatial axis which undergirds African American history and cultural mythology — an axis quite distinct from the East—West one which lies at the heart of much American nationalist historiography and self-fashioning.
And this spatial journey is also a journey in time. The deeper South the reader is taken, the deeper the book probes into the African American past.
Critics have noted that the complex spatio-temporal plotting of Souls reverses the narrative logic of the traditional slave narrative, the ur-genre of African American literature. In turning back this narrative movement Du Bois registers through his literary form the tragedy of which he writes throughout the book. Washington see Springer in this volume.
The founder of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, which offered vocational training to artisans, tradespersons, and schoolteachers, Washington was the pre-eminent black American leader on the national stage at the time of the writing and publication of Souls. His advocacy of industrial and vocational training over a more humanistic education as the surest path of African American progress, and his tacit acceptance of a seg- regation of the races are the two pillars of his program which are knocked down with exemplary and forceful tact by Du Bois in his third chapter.
If the inversion of the slave narrative structure provides an over-arching frame for the book, individual chapters make use of a diverse range of narra- tives from philosophy, literature, myth, and religion in similar fashion. In other words, the use of authoritative narratives as ironic counterpoints in the construction of its own narratives is a recurrent motif in Souls.
This repeated strategy becomes a hallmark of both the cultural criticism and the historical imagination of Souls. Memory is in Souls an active resource, the sign of a radical and critical melancholy rather than the symptom of a debilitating mental paralysis.
It is perhaps the most consistent device by which Souls draws together its disparate parts, and it is a device which requires of the reader an attentive eye and ear, and the interpretive use of an accumulating memory of their subtlest perceptions.
Nowhere does Du Bois better capture the sense of the workings of this memory and of the history of human experience which is its object than in his sense of music as a repository of fragmented meaning which only the imagination can resurrect. But equally at issue is the interference in communication resulting from cultural separation and from the erosions and transformations wrought by history.
As oral inscriptions of the sufferings of slavery, whose own preservation seems tenuous, they embody the dilemma of Black cultural survival. This is why he foregrounds the thematics of reading and writing so often in Souls. The guidance Du Bois provides for the reader is again carefully directed.
A clear central message it has conveyed to most readers, I think, but around this center there has lain a penumbra of vagueness and half-veiled allusion which has made these and others especially impatient.
How far this fault is in me and how far it is in the nature of the message I am not sure. The Thing itself sits before you; but when you have dressed it out in periods it seems fearfully uncouth and inchoate. Nevertheless, as the feeling is deep the greater the impelling force to seek to express it. And here the feeling was deep.
In the discussion which follows, the Du Boisian center examined is education. The arguments for a liberal, humanist education are clearly stated but around them there is a darker psychology of doubt and division. The dialectic of the two is enacted through a complex textual entanglement. Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world-wilderness.
Let there spring, Gentle One, from its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful. Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness which exalteth nations, in this drear day when human brother- hood is mockery and a snare.
Leaf, spring, harvest, still- born, book, tangle, afterthought: Thought and Afterthought introduces whenever he talks with engrossment of subject a. The book has argued throughout that education, in its broadest and truest sense, can be an agent of individual and social transformation, but for this to be so it must be grounded in radical diversity and human purpose rather than in a narrow instrumentalism and insularity.
Souls attempts at its end to image forth itself as a prophecy of such an education, and also as its living form; to read his book properly, Du Bois seems to suggest, is to bring to life the appropriate forms of intellection. How came it yours? This may not transgress civility, but it is nevertheless a reminder, unexpected in its forcefulness, that the white reader cannot rest comfortably within the stance of a neutral and concerned observer but must confront his or her own complicity with or ideological interpolation into the American histories of race and empire.
But what then is the function of the supplication to a supra-human reader who alone can master the book? Does it signal a grandiose claim to prophetic authority on the part of Du Bois and his book? The idea of a cryptic or hermetically sealed book which only God or some divine agent can decipher or reveal and which only the chosen and the wise can understand is indeed an idea of textuality and interpretation derived from the apocalyptic books of the Bible — it is in fact an image these prophetic books have of themselves as books.
Thought and Afterthought In the Revelation of St. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: It may reasonably be objected that there is not much of the apocalyptic as this is commonly understood in Souls.
This is largely true, though there are moments, however few, in which the catastrophic visions of the end of days characteristic of the eschatalogies of the books of the Apocalypse are invoked. However, the fact that Du Bois does not construct his own phantasmagoria of judgment day in order to harry the sinful American nation into a realization of its own guilt should not be taken as evidence of the tenuousness of the dialogue being proposed here between Souls and apocalyptic literature.
This is why this literary and religious tradition has been a sustaining resource for many traditions of Western political nonconformity. In doing so, Du Bois also distinguishes his own use of the apocalypse from its folk uses. Emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty than ever stretched before the eyes of wearied Israelites. In song and exhortation swelled one refrain — Liberty; in tears and curses the God he implored had Freedom in his right hand.
At last it came, — suddenly, fearfully, like a dream. With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences: For God has bought your liberty!
Though Du Bois acknowledges and celebrates the historical experience and the idealism witnessed by the sorrow songs, he remains critical of the potential abdication of historical human agency carried within their theology.
The Negro, losing the joy of this world, eagerly seized upon the offered con- ceptions of the next; the avenging Spirit of the Lord enjoining patience in this world, under sorrow and tribulation until the Great Day when He should lead His dark children home, — this became his comforting dream. In vain do we cry to this our vastest social problem: But to state it so bluntly may be to lapse into precisely the reductive and simplistic strategies of opposition which Souls largely refuses. The turn to Shakespeare may read as an abrupt shift in register and location from the biblical typologies that precede it, but the turn more properly con- tinues a subdued and silent rhyming with the passage which comes before.
There is then a continuity which provides an underlying logic for the transitions and turnings in the passage; the difference between Du Bois and the folk tradition is that he does not invest in a millenarian prospect but instead grounds his book in an ongoing and critical revelation of the present, a revelation which is itself presented in a typically hermetic form. Why is it Du Bois turns to a supra-human agent or agencies at the close of his book?
To claim that the turn is ironic in intent may be an answer of sorts. But, on the surface at least, vitalism is the keynote of the conclusion. Daniel interprets the dream to mean that the king will lose his kingdom and wealth until that moment when he recognizes the power of God: In Isaiah it is the exiled nation itself that blossoms as a tree in its restoration: Both the images of the tree of life and of a tree drawing its strength from its roots and not its leaves are used by Du Bois in Souls.
The fruit of the Tree of Life produces the will to know and understand. As if to mark the continuity between ancient and modern academies, between his own work and the larger cultural project, but above all to underline the fact that his book is indissolubly tied to his argument about education, Du Bois describes himself writing Souls by again drawing upon an image from nature, one that opens onto the sustaining ancestral presence of the dead: Ware, the founder of Atlanta University; the stone is from New England because Ware, like many others who took up the challenge of black edu- cation after the Civil War, was himself from New England.
Thought and Afterthought provide enlightened leadership for the black masses. The university is, of course, the rock upon which, for Du Bois, this program must be built. If my reading has digressed it has done so for a reason. However, the reading has progressively become enmeshed in other strands and movements besides education, which was my original concern.
But this is how Souls works; this is what it does to the reader attentive to its subtle connections. Hence arises a new human unity, pulling the ends of earth nearer, and all men, black, yellow, and white. So here we stand among thoughts of human unity, even through conquest and slavery; the inferiority of black men, even if forced by fraud; a shriek in the night for the freedom of men who themselves are not yet sure of their right to demand it. This is the tangle of thought and afterthought wherein we are called to solve the problem of training men for life.
The association between education and the tree of life is severed here; the tree here is the tree of knowledge which in the Bible too is a source of human suffering and death. Leaf, spring, harvest, still-born, book, tangle, afterthought: Almost anything can lead to everything in Souls because the developing interactions of relatively simple words and images weave the book together in such a way that its narrative unfolds not only as a melodic line but also as a chordal or har- monic simultaneity.
And for Du Bois, right hearing is synonymous with right reading or understanding. This is a dark note that troubles the comic ending and calls up again the specter at the feast writing in apocalyptic cipher.
The limits of human ability are marked again in the same language a little later: