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The Souls of Black Folk - Essay Example

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The Souls of Black Folk is a classic piece of American literature that was penned by W. E. B. Du Bois in the early twentieth century. The book is a seminal piece in the development of sociology as we know it…
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The Souls of Black Folk
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The Souls of Black Folk

Download file to see previous pages... Du Bois specifically relates that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line” and this concept is further expanded on in the work with the concept of life behind the veil of race. He refers to this paradoxical condition as double consciousness stating that "double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others". Over time the concepts introduced by Du Bois have become instrumental in approaching the race issue in America. The author’s work also reflects on the progress of race, the obstacles present to such progress and future possibilities for the nation as it entered the twentieth century. Overall Du Bois examines life for African Americans in the years following the American Civil War with particular focus being placed on the works of the Freedman’s Bureau’s function in the reconstruction efforts. The author indicates that the Bureau’s failures stemmed from a combination of southern opposition and “national neglect” as well as mismanagement by courts which were biased “in favor of black litigants”. However the Bureau was successful on some fronts such as its contributions to the foundation and progress of African American schools. ...
Instead the author argues that “the right to vote”, “civic equality” and “the education of youth according to ability” are critically important for sustainable progress of the African American racial group as a whole. The author also relates his personal experiences as a school teacher in rural Tennessee following which the author reflects on the state of material progress in Atlanta where accruing wealth seems to be the only target for people. The basic contention is to show that accruing wealth should not be the only focus of African Americans. Instead the author argues that there ought to be “standards of lower training” as well as “standards of human culture and lofty ideals of life”. Du Bois contends that African American colleges ought to train the “Talented Tenth” who would then provide contributions to lower education as well as playing the roles of liaisons for better race relations. Following this Du Bois has examined the state of rural life for African Americans through a discourse on Dougherty County, Georgia in order to represent living conditions in the southern Black Belt region. The contemporary conditions as well as the historical conditions have been presented in order to make a strong case. It is shown that cotton is still the lifeline of the local economy while only a very few African Americans are allowed to enjoy the newly found economic success. The contemporary legal system and the tenant farming systems have been compared to the days of slavery and it has been proved that there are little differences if any and that the differences are merely superficial. The derivation of African ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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