Published by sociologist and historian W. E. B. Du Bois in 1903, this series of essays addresses the plight of African Americans facing everyday racism in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. It has become one of the most important works on race and identity across the world.
Du Bois sets out to explain how black interaction with a white world has caused psychological anguish and argues that blacks should demand total equality in their daily realities. He opposes the views of other black intellectuals that some inequality was acceptable in exchange for basic education and legal rights.
The Souls of Black Folk highlights the way Jim Crow Laws (designed above all to make it impossible for blacks to vote) kept blacks in conditions they thought they had escaped when slavery was abolished in 1865.
Looking at key issues from political, economic, and social perspectives, The Souls of Black Folk profoundly influenced the civil rights movement in the US and inspired post-colonial thinking worldwide.