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The Souls of Black Folk


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About the Author

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), writer, civil rights activist, scholar, and editor, is one of the most significant intellectuals in American history. A founding member of the NAACP, editor for many years of The Crisis and three other journals, and author of seventeen books, his writings, speeches, and public debates brought fundamental changes to American race relations.

David Levering Lewis is Martin Luther King, Jr., University Professor in the department of history at Rutgers University. He won Pulitzer prizes for both volumes of his landmark biography of W.E.B. Du Bois, along with many other awards, including the Bancroft and Parkman prizes. He lives in Manhattan.


This release is in honor of the centennial of the publication of Du Bois's classic collection of writings on the experiences of the newly freed slaves after the Civil War. As in the print version, the audiobook includes a small portion of one of the Negro sorrow songs, songs that express the sadness and the hopes of the slaves. Du Bois looks at the history of African Americans to 1903, discussing how the government had not lived up to its promises. He brings forward his ideas of the "talented tenth" and the importance of educating this group so that they can help improve the world for other African Americans. Du Bois also attacks the beliefs of Booker T. Washington, who suggested that African Americans educate themselves to be better farmers and laborers and not aspire to professional careers. The audio ends with a short story, documenting the lives of two men named John, one black and one white, who leave the plantation where they grew up to attend college and return to deal with the changes in themselves and the expectations of their communities, with tragic results. Warren Hazlett does a masterful job of reading this wonderful work. It should find a home in all libraries, especially those with African American history collections.-Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"One hundred years after publication, there is in the entire body of social criticism still no more than a handful of meditations on the promise and failings of democracy in America to rival William Edward Burghardt Du Bois's extraordinary collection of fourteen essays." --from the Introduction by David Levering Lewis

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