Penn State

Linda F. Selzer - W. E. B. Du Bois, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Souls of Black Folk

Author: W. E. B. Du Bois

Book Description:

The Souls of Black Folk is a book of profound intellect and deep heart. I remember clearly the first time I read Du Bois’s compelling analysis of the impact of racism on individuals and on the nation in an undergraduate philosophy course. The book was a revelation to me then, and over time it has not lost its ability to inspire and to provoke. Today I never teach this seminal text without being humbled by its prescience (“the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line”); by its analytic and metaphoric power (“being a problem is a strange experience”); and by its erudition (“to make here in human education that ever necessary combination of the permanent and the contingent—of the ideal and the practical in workable equilibrium—has been . . . in every age and place, a matter of infinite experiment and frequent mistakes”).

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