Today’s Favorite Book is “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. DuBois. One of the most debated novels of the past 200 years, “The Souls of Black Folk” held a mirror to the lives of Black Americans, who were still struggling to adjust to a post-slavery America at the time of the novel’s debut. The daily strain of being a Black man was recounted by Dubois, and though controversial, this novel remains on required reading lists of colleges all over the country. It is somehow stark and soulful at the same time, and still speaks to African Americans in today’s society.
“One ever feels his two-ness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Many can relate to this feeling of “two-ness,” especially African Americans, who have endured a history of brutality and scorn, all born of racism. In this novel, Dubois speaks to the reader, and conveys that he, too, endured the terrible struggles of being Black in America. He also provides hope, and an example of resilient strength to the reader; his elevated writing and dignified tone remind readers to remain strong and unwavering in the face of bigotry, or obstacles of any kind.
DuBois was an intellectual and scholar, and had the distinction of being the first African American to earn a PhD from Harvard University in 1895. In 1909, DuBois and others founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); he sought to win basic human rights for Blacks, and to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to society. A writer himself and a great lover of fiction and poetry, DuBois published the works of several Harlem Renaissance writers, including Langston Hughes. DuBois championed education, cultural awareness, and self-determination as aids to Blacks living in America during his time period, and these virtues still motivate and inspire generations of today’s African Americans.
S. Willis is a native Virginian. She is the author of a children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” which will be released in May 2011 (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order).
Want to recommend a book for S. Willis to review? Email your suggestions to: Samantha@wordsbywillis.com