Some reviewers refer to DuBois as the Black Emerson and, as a university instructor, I heard similar references made: the Black Dewey or the Black Park, referring to the Chicago School scholars. Du Bois was brilliant; indeed, these white men should be being called the white Du Bois! Du Bois literally created the scientific method of observation and qualitative research. With the junk being put out today in the name of dissertations, simply re-read Du Bois work on the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and his work on the Philadelphia Negro and it is clear that he needs not be compared to any white man of his time or any other: he was a renaissance man who cared about his people and, unlike too many of the scholars of day, he didnt just talk the talk or write the trite; he walked the walk and organized the unorganizable.
White racism suffered because Du Bois raised the consciousness of the black masses. But he did more than that; by renouncing his American citizenship and moving to Ghana, he proved that Pan Africanism is not just something to preach or write about (ala Molefi Asante, Tony Martin, Jeffries and other Africanists); it is a way of life, both a means and an end. Du Bois organized the first ever Pan African Congress and, in doing so, set the stage for Afrocentricity, Black Studies and the Bandung Conference which would be held in 1954 in Bandung, Indonesia. Du Bois not only affected people in this country, he was a true internationalist.
Souls of Black Folk is an important narrative that predates critical race theory. It is an important reading, which predates formal Black Studies. The book calls for elevation of black people by empowering black communities -- todays leadership is so starved for acceptance that I believe that Karenga was correct when he says that these kind of people often doubt their own humanity.
The book should be read by all.