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Extended Audio Sample The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. B. Du Bois Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (8,641 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: W. E. B. Du Bois Narrator: Mirron Willis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” writes Du Bois, in one of the most prophetic works in all of American literature. First published in 1903, this collection of fifteen essays dared to describe the racism that prevailed at that time in America—and to demand an end to it. Du Bois’ writing draws on his early experiences, from teaching in the hills of Tennessee, to the death of his infant son, to his historic break with the conciliatory position of Booker T. Washington.

Du Bois received a doctorate from Harvard in 1895 and became a professor of economics and history at Atlanta University. His dynamic leadership in the cause of social reform on behalf of his fellow blacks anticipated and inspired much of the black activism of the 1960s. The Souls of Black Folk is a classic in the literature of civil rights.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Thanks to W. E. B. Du Bois’ commitment and foresight—and the intellectual excellence expressed in this timeless literary gem—black Americans can today look in the mirror and rejoice in their beautiful black, brown, and beige reflections.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “[A] masterpiece.”


  • “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.”

    David Levering Lewis, from the introduction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robert | 2/19/2014

    " One of the best books I have read. It was slow going, but I could not put it down. Du Bois' English is alive! He delivers his message well. Definitely a re-read down the road. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Patricia | 2/18/2014

    " These essays written from the black person's view of the post civil war black experience were well written and interesting to read. How far have we come? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Judah Martin | 2/15/2014

    " The amount of time it took me to get through this book is a testament to its brilliance, and i'm only saddened by the certainty much of that brilliance was lost on me. Du Bois's sentences are written with such painstaking eloquence that often I found myself reading and re-reading them, unable to discern their meaning. What I did understand all to well, though, were his observations on issues forced upon people of color that have, unfortunately, transcended time ( American/Negro double-consciousness, the veiled existence, etc.) I understand, though, that Du Bois's middle class New England upbringing allowed him privileges unknown to southern blacks. That said, he also later ventured south to the nation's black-belt to work as a teacher; it is ultimately up to the reader to decide if the experience of living among southern blacks, viewing first-hand the sufferings unique to the blacks in the south, was enough to give Du Bois' rhetoric credibility. Nevertheless- unlike his rival, Booker T. Washington- Du Bois delved beyond the surface of the black condition to offer explanations, not criticisms, for the short-comings of a people just one or two generations removed from slavery. In fact that's entirely the purpose of The Souls of Black Folk- to describe fully what it meant to be black during the turn of the 20th century, to detail the social and political restrictions placed on blacks that thus sabotaged their development as a race, and, above all, it illustrates the ambitions and the humanity of a race of people still thought to be subordinate. This book has left me asking myself, "what can I do to make a difference for my people?" The Souls of Black Folk is undoubtedly a difficult text, but reading it is a reminder to appreciate those new-found opportunities granted some of us by the luck of being born into the latter half of the 20th century. More than that, it's an encouragement to remove a barrier of two for the next generation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Laurie | 2/13/2014

    " I might have never read this book if it weren't for my African-American history class, but i am so glad i got to read it. i'd have to say it is up there with some of my favorite reads. "

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