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HISTORY (1861-1992) - Research Paper Example

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The Souls of Black Folk and the Veil that Clouds Them : A Critical Analysis into the work of W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk is a sociological work of literature, published in 1903 by W…
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HISTORY (1861-1992)
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Download file to see previous pages Du Bois used mostly his own experiences of being an African-American in an American society to develop the essays and illustrate the conditions of the souls of those African-American and outline how their living conditions felt. In the forethought to the book where Du Bois offers a brief introduction, he says, 'Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century.' (Du Bois, Forethought). This book was an essential insight into the souls of the black folk, standing not only for its time, but perhaps holding true even today, despite considerable progress and change. This essay aims to examine that proposition and prove that it is indeed true. In the aforementioned forethought, Du Bois laid down the foundation of the theme the rest of the book was to focus on, and through which he explains the conditions of those African-Americans. He does so by referencing to a certain Veil (with the V capitalized to indicate its being an entity of its own and not just a commonplace divide) that divided or partitioned the African-American man from his American surroundings. He compares the veil to a certain line that divides color, or a color line, as he also calls it, and says that every African-American lives within it and views his world in reference to it. Elaborating on this veil, he further goes on to say in the following chapter, when relating an experience as a little boy where he was forced to acknowledge his being different, and where he realized the existance of this veil first, that “... it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, may-hap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt and lived above it….” (Du Bois, Chapter 1). But he goes on to say that even though he in his own vision had decided to keep all beyond it in contempt and beat them all, he realized that he could not, for everything was theirs to own, and he could merely desire to own it from them. With a poverty rate that's almost double than that for white Americans (O'Hare, 2009) is that not something many under-privileged African-American youths of today can also relate to? Du Bois further remarked at how it felt to be an outcast, or a 'problem', or to be viewed as one, and how as a result of it, he found his peers withdrawing to within this Veil and wasting themselves away in bitterness. Du Bois also says that the reason racism exists and continue to block the inhibition of the African-American man is because of this Veil and the distance and isolation they feel beneath it, a feeling, that despite the democracy and progress is still applicable to and experienced by many (Alexander, 2008). Towards the second half of the book, Du Bois, in his position and time, aimed to minimize this distance and aura of isolation around the common African-American man living in an American society and says, 'The present generation of Southerners is not responsible for the past, and they should not be blindly hated or blamed for it.' (Du Bois, Chapter 3). He also references the achievements of Booker T. Washington, and said that while he had done much to bring about harmony among the African-American and white American folk, his policies of encouraging African-Americans to give up their political power, civil rights and higher ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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