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Customer Review

157 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Du Bois, Race and "The Color Line", December 16, 2000
This review is from: The Souls of Black Folk (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The Souls of Black Folks, as other reviewers have pointed out, is a masterpiece of African-American thought. But it is even more than that when we consider the context and time in which the book was written. Most of what DuBois discusses is still relevant today, and this is a tribute to the man, not only as a scholar, but as someone who was continually adapting his views in the best image and interests of black people.
Some reviewers refer to DuBois as "the Black Emerson" and, as a university instructor, I heard similar references made: 'the Black Dewey" or "the Black Park," referring to the Chicago School scholars. Du Bois was brilliant; indeed, these white men should be being called "the white Du Bois"! Du Bois literally created the scientific method of observation and qualitative research. With the junk being put out today in the name of "dissertations," simply re-read Du Bois' work on the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and his work on the Philadelphia Negro and it is clear that he needs not be compared to any white man of his time or any other: he was a renaissance man who cared about his people and, unlike too many of the scholars of day, he didn't just talk the talk or write the trite; he walked the walk and organized the unorganizable.
White racism suffered because Du Bois raised the consciousness of the black masses. But he did more than that; by renouncing his American citizenship and moving to Ghana, he proved that Pan Africanism is not just something to preach or write about (ala Molefi Asante, Tony Martin, Jeffries and other Africanists); it is a way of life, both a means and an end. Du Bois organized the first ever Pan African Congress and, in doing so, set the stage for Afrocentricity, Black Studies and the Bandung Conference which would be held in 1954 in Bandung, Indonesia. Du Bois not only affected people in this country, he was a true internationalist.
Souls of Black Folk is an important narrative that predates critical race theory. It is an important reading, which predates formal Black Studies. The book calls for elevation of black people by empowering black communities -- today's leadership is so starved for acceptance that I believe that Karenga was correct when he says that these kind of people "often doubt their own humanity."
The book should be read by all.
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Initial post: Mar 19, 2015 9:29:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2015 9:33:41 PM PDT
I wished that DuBois had kept a secret diary or two.If he had heard anything,about the Lindbergh kidnapping caper.If he heard it from Belle da Costa Greene or from Paul Robeson.Belle was good friends with Paul's parents,William and Marie Louise.Paul may have heard the story from Charles Laughton and Elsa Lancaster,while he was on tour,performing in London.Most of the Harlem Renaissance had to have known,the kidnapping story.Not just the 'chinese whispers',floating through alleys and saloons.Belle was considered one of the most fashionable women of her day.She was Jack Morgan's trusted art collector.I've wondered if she had kept a secret diary,just for family and close friends to ponder and muse over.Or perhaps the details of the kidnapping are lost to the sands of time and history.(Excellent review,thank you for sharing.Also check out www.charlesalindberghjr.com)
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