Can someone summarize chapter 5 of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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You can find a summary and analysis of chapters 1-6 in the eNotes study guide for this book, to which I've pasted a link below.

The Souls of Black Folks is a collection of essays about African American life in the years after the Civil War. Chapter 5 is titled "Of the Wings of Atalanta." It is about the city of Atlanta and how it emerged with new life after the war. Before the war, DuBois says, Atlanta "slept dull and drowsy." He says that it is hard to "live haunted by the ghost of an untrue dream" and that "many a man and city and people have found in it excuse for sulking, and brooding, and listless waiting." However, Atlanta rose from the ashes of war to become a greater city. The people of Atlanta "turned toward the future" and built factories and businesses, and now the city is prospering.

But Atlanta must not be like its namesake Atalanta and fall for the glitter of gold.

Atlanta must not lead the South to dream of material prosperity as the touchstone of all success; already the fatal might of this idea is beginning to spread; it is replacing the finer type of Southerner with vulgar money-getters; it is burying the sweeter beauties of Southern life beneath pretence and ostentation.

DuBois says that Atlanta can be an example for the rest of the country by building universities and educating its people at the same time it grows in prosperity. "Teach workers to work....Teach thinkers to think."

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