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The Essay on Man is a philosophical poem, written, characteristically, it is in fact a fragment of a larger work which Pope planned but did not live to complete.

Economically, the Negro has become a slave of debt, says Du Bois. He describes the economic classes: the "submerged tenth" of croppers , 40 percent are metayers or "tenant on shares" with a chattel mortgage , 39 percent are semi-metayers and wage-laborers, while 5 percent are money-renters, and 6 percent freeholders. Finally, du Bois states that only 6 percent "have succeeded in emerging into peasant proprietorship", leading to a "migration to town", the "buying of small homesteads near town".

This chapter discusses "race-contact", specifically as it relates to physical proximity, economic and political relations, intellectual contact, social contact, and religious enterprise. As for physical proximity, Du Bois states there is an obvious "physical color-line" in Southern communities separating whites from Negroes, and a Black Belt in larger areas of the country. He says that here is a need for "Negro leaders of character and intelligence" to help guide Negro communities along the path out of the current economic situation. The power of the ballot is necessary, he asserts, as "in every state the best arbiters of their own welfare are the persons directly affected.

In Chapter X, Du Bois describes the rise of the black church and examines the history and contemporary state of religion and spiritualism among African Americans. After recounting his first exposure to the Southern Negro revival , Du Bois notes three things that characterize this religion: the Preacher, the Music, and the Frenzy—the Frenzy or Shouting being "when the Spirit of the Lord passed by, and, seizing the devotee, made him mad with supernatural joy.

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Predominately Methodists or Baptists after Emancipation, when Emancipation finally, came Du Bois states, it seemed to the freedman a literal "Coming of the Lord". The final chapters of the book are devoted to narratives of individuals. Du Bois comments, "Why was his hair tinted with gold? An evil omen was golden hair in my life. Du Bois ends with, "Sleep, then, child,—sleep till I sleep and waken to a baby voice and the ceaseless patter of little feet-above the Veil.

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In this chapter, Du Bois recounts a short biography of Alexander Crummell , an early black priest in the Episcopal Church. Du Bois starts with, "This is the history of a human heart.

The penultimate chapter, "Of the Coming of John", is fictional. When he returns to his place, he discovers that "[l]ittle had they understood of what he said, for he spoke an unknown tongue" Du Bois John's return to the South has made him a foreigner in his own home. After he attempts to teach a class for the local children, John is compared to a different John, the son of wealthy Judge Henderson.

John Henderson has become bored after his own return from college. He begins to sexually assault Jennie, the sister of black John, when the young white man sees her outside his home. John kills white John and bids his mother goodbye. In the final part of the story, there is an implication that he is about to be lynched by a gathering mob, and John "softly hum[s] the 'Song of the Bride ' " in German.

Du Bois He refers to the short musical passages at the beginning of each of the other chapters.

Du Bois mentions that the music was so powerful and meaningful that, regardless of the people's appearance and teaching, "their hearts were human and their singing stirred men with a mighty power. He says, "Your country? How came it yours?.. Du Bois heralds the "melody of the slave songs", or the Negro spirituals, as the "articulate message of the slave to the world.

For Du Bois's contention that the sorrow songs contain a notative excess, and untranscribable element Yolanda Pierce identifies as the "soul" of the sorrow songs.

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Few books make history and fewer still become foundational texts for the movements and struggles of an entire people. The Souls of Black Folk occupies this rare position. It helped to create the intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century. By describing a global color-line, Du Bois anticipated pan-Africanism and colonial revolutions in the Third World. Moreover, this stunning critique of how 'race' is lived through the normal aspects of daily life is central to what would become known as ' whiteness studies ' a century later.

At the time of its publication, the Nashville Banner warned of The Souls of Black Folk , "This book is dangerous for the Negro to read, for it will only incite discontent and fill his imagination with things that do not exist, or things that should not bear upon his mind. In his introduction to the edition, writer Saunders Redding observed, "The boycott of the buses in Montgomery had many roots.

As Yale professor Hazel Carby points out, for black writers before the abolition of slavery in , it was impossible "even to imagine the option of returning to the South once black humanity and freedom had been gained in the North", and it was rarely found in later literature as well.

Carby traces the ways in which Du Bois gendered his narrative of black folk, but also how Du Bois's conceptual framework is gendered as well. According to Carby, it seems that Du Bois in this book is most concerned with how race and nation intersect, and how such an intersection is based on particular masculine notions of progress. According to Carby, Du Bois "exposes and exploits the tension that exists between the internal egalitarianism of the nation and the relations of domination and subordination embodied in a racially encoded social hierarchy.

However, this unified race is only possible through the gendered narrative that he constructs throughout Souls , which renders black male intellectuals himself as the only possible leader s of the unified race. Carby explains that "in order to retain his credentials for leadership, Du Bois had to situate himself as both an exceptional and a representative individual The terms and conditions of his exceptionalism, Du Bois argues, have their source in his formation as a gendered intellectual.

In other words, "the figure of the intellectual and race leader is born of and engendered by other males. Such a reading of Du Bois calls attention to "queer meanings" that, according to Charles Nero, are inherent in Souls.


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Nero, who uses Anne Herrmann's definition of queer, conceptualizes queerness as the "recognition on the part of others that one is not like others, a subject out of order, not in sequence, not working. Nero analyzes Du Bois's discussion on the Teutonic and Submissive Man to conclude that such a contract would lead to a "round and full development" to produce a "great civilization". However, Nero is concerned with violence and the "rigid policing of sexual identity categories at the turn of the century", which ultimately made such a homosocial, biracial contract impossible.

Nero marks "Of the Coming of John" as a central chapter that demonstrates his queer reading of Souls. Nero argues that John Jones's absence of masculinity is a sign of his queerness and that the killing of his "double" represents Du Bois's disillusionment with the idea that a biracial and homosocial society can exist.

Du Bois had transdisciplinary training and he provided a historical context for black religion and culture. His concept of "double-consciousness" and other concepts from Souls have been highly influential on other scholars in their interpretations of black culture and religion. These are some of the scholars who take up themes or concepts found in Souls for their own work in religious and theological studies or cultural criticism.

In Beyond Ontological Blackness , Victor Anderson seeks to critique a trope of "black heroic genius" articulated within the logics of ontological blackness as a philosophy of racial consciousness. Du Bois's double-consciousness depiction of black existence has come to epitomize the existential determinants of black self-consciousness.


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  • Anderson's critique of black heroic genius and a move towards black cultural fulfillment is an attempt to move beyond the categories deployed by Du Bois in Souls. Similarly, Sanders critiques Du Bois's concept of double-consciousness, especially in terms of interpreting black holiness-Pentecostalism. In Sanders's work, Saints in Exile: The Holiness-Pentecostal Experience in African American Religion and Culture , Sanders deploys a dialectical understanding of exile, which she characterizes in black holiness-Pentecostal terms as "Being in the world, but not of it.

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    For Sanders, "exilic dialectics" is "hoped to represent a progressive step beyond the 'double-consciousness' described by W. Du Bois in , which persists as the dominant paradigm in African American religious and cultural thought. Describing exilic consciousness as between "both-and", and double-consciousness as "either-or", Sanders says that those who live in exile "can find equilibrium and fulfillment between extremes, whereas adherents to the latter either demand resolution or suffer greatly in the tension, as is the case with Du Bois's description of the agony of 'double-consciousness,' as 'two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

    In his introduction, Du Bois wrote that in the 50 years since its publication, he occasionally had the inclination to revise the book but ultimately decided to leave it as it was, "as a monument to what I thought and felt in ". While he stuck by his decision, he wrote that in the new edition he had made "less than a half-dozen alterations in word or phrase and then not to change my thoughts as previously set down but to avoid any possible misunderstanding today of what I meant to say yesterday.

    In , historian Herbert Aptheker identified seven changes between the editions. Historian and literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. All the changes are minor; the longest was to change "nephews and poor whites and the Jews" to "poor relations and foreign immigrants".

    In six of the nine changes, Du Bois changed references to Jews to refer to immigrants or foreigners.

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    Two of the other changes also involved references to Jews. Du Bois wrote to Aptheker in February about concerns he had with his references to Jews in the book:. I have had a chance to read [ The Souls of Black Folk ] in part for the first time in years. I recall that years ago, Jacob Schiff wrote me criticising these references and that I denied any thought of race or religious prejudice and promised to go over the passages in future editions.

    These editions succeeded each other without any consultation with me, and evidently the matter slipped out of my mind. As I re-read these words today, I see that harm might come if they were allowed to stand as they are. First of all, I am not at all sure that the foreign exploiters to whom I referred But even if they were, what I was condemning was the exploitation and not the race nor religion. And I did not, when writing, realize that by stressing the name of the group instead of what some members of the [group] may have done, I was unjustly maligning a people in exactly the same way my folk were then and are now falsely accused.

    In view of this and because of the even greater danger of injustice now than then, I want in the event of re-publication [to] change those passages. In the foregoing chapter, "Jews" have been mentioned five times, and the late Jacob Schiff once complained that this gave an impression of anti-Semitism. This at the time I stoutly denied; but as I read the passages again in the light of subsequent history, I see how I laid myself open to this possible misapprehension.

    What, of course, I meant to condemn was the exploitation of black labor and that it was in this country and at that time in part a matter of immigrant Jews, was incidental and not essential. My inner sympathy with the Jewish people was expressed better in the last paragraph of page But this illustrates how easily one slips into unconscious condemnation of a whole group.

    The publisher did not add the paragraph, perhaps because Du Bois changed the text instead. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Black, driven, and significant, they helped change the course of education and agriculture, politics, and criminal justice, and they live on today as heroes of the Black community.

    They show that anyone can make a difference in American society, and that hard work and dedication really do pay off, for individuals, and for society. Shirley Anita St. Her mother and father were both Caribbean, and moved to New York a few years before Chisholm was born.

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    She was the oldest of three daughters. Her mother, uby,…… [Read More]. Sweat by Zora Neal Hurston Specifically it. Sweat, by Zora Neal Hurston. Specifically, it will contain a biography of the writer and criticism of her work "Sweat," along with another story. She grew up in Eatonville, Florida, which was the first all-black town incorporated in the United States. An avid reader, she soon learned to love myth and lore, and teachers and friends encouraged her love of books and reading. When she attended college, she majored in English, and began writing for several journals.