When first published in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk struck like a thunderclap, quickly establishing itself as a work that wholly redefined the history of the black experience in America, introducing the now famous “problem of the color line.” In decades since, its stature has only grown, and today it ranks as one of the most influential and resonant works in the history of American thought.
This centennial edition contains a landmark Introduction by historian David Levering Lewis that brilliantly demonstrates how The Souls of Black Folk remains indispensable not only to an understanding of the history of race and democracy in America but to considerations of the future of racial and cultural comity in the twenty-first century.
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.
Praise for The Souls of Black Folk…
“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