August 10, 2020

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois – Chapter 9: Of the Sons of Master and Man, Part 1

The Souls of Black Folk is a 1903 work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology.

In Living Black History, Du Bois’s biographer Manning Marable observed:

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 . . . 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.[14]

Moreover, as posited in The Souls of Black Radical Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois, Critical Social Theory, and the State of Africana Studies I think Du Bois’s acute critical observations of white society and the Black struggle within it should be regarded as the American equivalent of the development of ‘critical theory’ by the Frankfurt School in 1923; and, by connecting the dots from there, as the foundation of what would develop into ‘critical race theory‘ in the mid to late 1980’s in the U.S. and globally.

With this background, I recommend the above video to everyone who wishes to develop a better appreciation of the genesis and stubborn persistence of America’s vast, racially segregated and impoverished neighborhoods, and of experiences that are commonly reported by Black Americans today.

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