From Publishers Weekly
In his landmark book on race, The Souls of Black Folks, W.E.B. DuBois detailed the schizophrenic lifestyle black Americans had to live in order to find their place in post-slavery America. Carrolls latest work since the well-received Sugar In The Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America revisits DuBoiss classic more than 100 years after its debut to examine the current relevance of its original content. Carroll interviewed 18 well-known black scholars, journalists, artists, politicians and activists for her project, asking them to reflect on selected DuBois passages and to offer new interpretations of them. The result is a handbook of personal reflections and cultural insights from the likes of Derrick Bell, Patricia Smith, Julian Bond and Elizabeth Alexander on the issues of black authenticity, inequality, fitting in, being the "different" black person and on DuBois himself. Personal anecdotes at the beginning of each chapter give readers a front-row view of Carrolls own struggles as a biracial woman trying desperately to discover how to be blackwith only white parents, a few black friends and a large dose of race consciousness as her guides. All together, the short-chapter format weaves together the personal history and the variant commentary nicely, but somehow the book remains disjointed and unfocused, perhaps because it never focuses on a central theme.
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Carroll, a former W. E. B. DuBois Fellow at Harvard University, explores contemporary reflections of DuBois' seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk
. Using a series of interviews with a variety of commentators--journalists, artists, authors, politicians--Carroll focuses on the issues DuBois brought to the surface in his work, namely the color line, identity, and double consciousness. Reflecting on DuBois' famous prediction that "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," commentators from the civil rights generation and the hip-hop generation offer their personal perspectives and new twists on the old black-white racial dynamic. Among the 20 interview subjects are DuBois' stepson, David Graham DuBois; A'Lelia Bundles; Julian Bond; Kathleen Cleaver; Lalita Tademy; Thelma Golden; Vernon Jordan; Derrick Bell; Patricia Smith; and Clarence Major. Carroll, a biracial woman raised by white parents who identifies herself as black, intersperses her own complex perspectives on race. Vernon FordCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved