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W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is an influential composition in Afro-American writings. The author employs his life experiences in blending the Afro-American reality with sociological data, songs as well as poetry so as to come up with an outstanding masterpiece. The book touches on several issues including race favoritism. Du Bois focuses on the lifestyles of African-Americans and expresses how they endeavor for acknowledgment and cultural distinctiveness. During this period, majority of Whites reviled the Afro-Americans and viewed them as “dismal” creatures. They habitually held the notion that Blacks could be controlled only by use of terror. Blacks were brought out as fools and archaic creatures. They were seen as a population that had no positive influence on humanity.
The narration demonstrates spiritual and social existence of the African-American population. It highlights their struggles for civil rights and how they contributed to the success of the United States (Boss, 1996). It intends to explore the various ways by which the African-Americans’ way of life became the central issue of American’s society. In addition, it portrays how chronological prejudices such as slavery contributed to a shaky relationship.
The masterpiece begins with Du Bois affirming that his most important aspiration is to stand for the sentiments and rights of Blacks in the U.S., particularly, at the commencement of the twentieth century. He does this due to his belief that the subject of race is at the center of the tribulations affecting individuals at this time. The narration attends to historical as well as political subjects all through its composition as it seems to reveal the slip-ups and negligence of the Blacks subsequent to the liberation decree. This is substantiated by the proclamation that there existed “…a conflict between two opposed selves: the one seeing and the other seen; the one contemptous and the other remote; the one American and the other Negro” (Du Bois, 1987). Du Bois visibly envisions the thoughts of “double-consciousness”. These thoughts of distinctiveness are underlined all through the composition. This outlines this work as a multifaceted and genuinely moving composition that depicts the destiny of African- Americans in the United States’ society.
The author steps back and ventures into circumstances that existed in the years subsequent to the Civil War. He predominantly looks at the responsibilities undertaken during Reconstruction period by the Freedmen’s Bureau. With regard to his beliefs, the Bureau was unsuccessful in carrying out its mandate. This was brought about by the negligence and favoritism of the courts in matters concerning Black individuals. Nonetheless, the Bureau did well in contributing to the establishment of African-American learning institutions. Du Bois suggests that since the end of the Reconstruction era, the most significant occasion to take place in the African-American chronology had been the ascension of Booker Washington (a leader became the representative of the Black race).
Du Bois stresses that the guidelines set by Washington with regard to racial associations had been detrimental to the general and long-term evolution of the Black race. Washington preached about compliance yet by accepting separation; it accentuated material benefit, which led to the loss of support for learning institutions, votes and social status. These factors played a crucial role in the progression of the African-American race. The composition further highlights the lifestyles of Blacks in the South, their cultural beliefs as well as poor living conditions that related to slavery. The author goes on to analyze the living standards of the colored minority who were mandated to abide by the existing conditions due to their poverty and illiteracy status. This resulted in a number of family breakdowns.
A number of the experiences put forward by Du Bois were based on his life as an educator in the countryside of Tennessee. He is of the opinion that Blacks ought to have an education that empowers and liberates them. This education should also assist them in enhancing literacy and averting discrimination on the basis of race among individuals. Du Bois further scrutinizes the lifestyles of rural Americans by utilizing Georgia and Dougherty regions as examples. He pens down these regions’ chronological events as well as the existing state of affairs. As much as cotton remains the main produce of the Black Belt, quite a small number of Blacks take pleasure in the economic prowess it brings (Du Bois, 1987). Not so many things have changed since then as the lawful and leaseholder farming schemes are still as they were during the slavery period. Du Bois disapproves of the loans schemes utilized for the growth of cotton. As a result, merchants used to accept nothing short of cotton. This was what they used as leverage for the sake of securing the payment of the taken loan. Following this action by the loaning institutions, underprivileged individuals were obligated to cultivate crops that did not benefit them in any way. This amounted to exploitation. At the end, it was difficult for them to alleviate poverty; hence, it made them to refrain from putting too much effort.
This narrative gives a picture of vital race beliefs by different individuals. It proposes the empowerment of the Blacks. The main theme of racial discrimination is brought out clearly through the various events highlighted in the narration. The book is concerned with historical views related to literacy and social standards. The manner in which Du Bois has expressed the predicaments faced by the Blacks, especially through his life experiences, clearly outlines this piece of work as an outstanding one. He has managed to systematically bring out the predicaments of the Black population hence making the comprehension of the tale easy.