Analysis of “The Souls of Black Folk” by Du Bois

In chapter I of his book The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois writes about the “double-consciousness” of American blacks. The concept of “double-consciousness” refers to the constant self-perception of blacks as people who have a double essence. Because of the continuous racialized oppression, the Negro started to look at themselves in the eyes of someone else. Such feelings are rooted in the duty of subordination of blacks to the white population, which radically changed their way of thinking. Actually, it is not something that was innate in blacks. Instead, that was the transformation because of the social condition of American society, as Du Bois (2007) indicates, “the Negro <…> in this American world” (p. 8).

In chapter III of The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois writes about his agreements and disagreements with Booker T. Washington. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Booker T. Washington was the leader of the African-American community and actively promoted his ideas on the blacks movement. One of the lines of his propaganda was that blacks should concentrate on industrial education and the accumulation of wealth. For this, in Washington’s opinion, black people should have sacrificed their political power, desire for civil rights, and education of youth Negros. Du Bois strikingly disagreed with such a political program because it created the disfranchisement of blacks, the legal status of inferiority, and the impossibility of the higher training of the Negros. Du Bois was sure that without political rights, it is impossible to gain economic power.


Du Bois, W. E. B. (2007). The souls of black folk. Oxford University Press.

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