The Souls of Black Folk is W.E.B. Du Bois' most famous work. While the work is often viewed as a classic in African American literature and the history of the African American experience, the sociological significance of the work has been understated. In his initial discussions with the book's original publisher, Du Bois desired to prepare a volume that would showcase his ongoing sociological work on "the Negro problems." While many editions of Du Bois' classic text have appeared, no edition has focused primarily on the eight previously published essays in their original form and chronological order. This fact alone makes The Sociological Souls of Black Folk unique. An introductory essay by the volume's editor, Robert Wortham, highlights the sociological significance of the original essays by addressing such themes as the concept of the self, the social construction of the African American experience, and racial inequality. Eight additional essays originally published between 1897 and 1900 are added by the editor in a second section. These additional sociological essays focus on African American entrepreneurship, crime, race relations, liberal arts education, the Black Church's function within the African American community, and the quality of African American life in the Southern Black Belt. The essays included in The Sociological Souls of Black Folk provide the reader with an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for Du Bois' early sociological work and recognize that Du Bois was indeed one of the pioneering figures in the development of sociology in the United States.
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About the Author
Robert A. Wortham is professor of sociology at North Carolina Central University.
Table of Contents
List of Figures vii
List of Tables ix
The Sociological Souls of Black Folk: Editor's Introduction xiii
Part 1 The Sociological Souls of Black Folk 1
1 Strivings of the Negro People 3
2 A Negro Schoolmaster in the New South 9
3 The Religion of the American Negro 17
4 The Freedman's Bureau 27
5 The Negro as He Really Is 41
6 The Evolution of Negro Leadership 55
7 The Relation of the Negroes to the Whites in the South 59
8 Of the Training of Black Men 73
Part 2 Contextual Sociological Essays: 1897-1900 85
9 The Negro in Business: Results of the Investigation 87
10 The Negro and Crime 103
11 The American Negro at Paris 107
12 The Conservation of Races 111
13 Careers Open to College-Bred Negroes 121
14 The Problem of Amusement 133
15 The Negro in the Black Belt: Some Social Sketches 143
16 The Georgia Negro: A Social Study-Editor's Reconstruction 163
Editor's Bibliography 197
Bibliography of W.E.B. Du Bois' Early Sociological Studies: 1897-1902 203
What People are Saying About This
The study proves that we still have much to learn from Du Bois. Wortham's imaginative book is the first to examine key sociological issues in eight essays, the sociological core, of The Souls of Black Folk, supplemented by eight additional sociological essays which Du Bois published during the same period. The sixteen essays, together with Wortham's incisive and lucid commentary, complete an excellent addition to the growing Du Bois literature. Although sociologists are not noted for their eloquent exposition, this book is a rare exception.
This book offers us positive proof that Du Bois's contributions to the origins and evolution of American sociology extend far beyond The Philadelphia Negro and urban sociology. Perhaps the most stunning feature of The Sociological Souls of Black Folk is the often-overlooked fact that Du Bois's sociological discourse may very well prove to be the epitome of what makes American sociology thoroughly "American"-that is to say, his unrepentant emphasis on race, gender, class, and culture within the context of the United States. Robert Wortham should be openly applauded, because here he reprints another classic Du Bois collection that will undoubtedly make a major contribution to those bold souls who sincerely seek to understand the real roots of American sociology.