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Book cover for The Souls of Black Folk
January 2023

The Souls of Black Folk

By W. E. B. Du Bois
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First published in 1903, this landmark book is a cornerstone of African American literary history and a foundational work of black radicalism that belongs on every bookshelf.

W. E. B. Du Bois was a pioneering thinker whose strategies dominated early 20th-century black protest in America, and The Souls of Black Folk became a cornerstone text of the civil rights movement.

In these fourteen essays, he explores the concept of “double-consciousness”—a term he uses to describe the experience of living as an African American and having a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.”

Combining music and lyrics, sociological analysis, history, memoir, and even some fiction, Du Bois interlinks the deeply personal with broad and deep historiography, nimbly shifting tone, style and perspective throughout. 

The book endures today as a classic document of American social and political history: a manifesto that has influenced generations with its transcendent vision for change.

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) was the most celebrated advocate of African American rights in the early twentieth century. In addition to his work as a professor of history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University, Du Bois worked his entire life to promote civil rights, Pan-Africanism, women’s rights, and nuclear disarmament. Du Bois died in Ghana, at the age of ninety-five―just a day before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington.


Originally published by Oxford University Press

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