Summarize the significant points from the second chapter of of The Souls of Black Folk.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The second chapter is where DuBois is able to bring out the fundamental question in relation to American society and people of color.  He argues that while legal equality has been conferred to a great extent upon people of color, he also argues that this has created a fundamental problem.  How can the full integration of people of color become evident in a society that for so long marginalized them?  The focus of the chapter is the elements of Reconstruction that sought to bring African- Americans into mainstream America.  DuBois' major points is that this is faulty because it does not take into account that an organization like the Freedman's Bureau cannot possibly solve the rift or divide that is evident in society, cannot address the fundamental problems of both what it means to be of color in America and how greater enfranchisement can be evident as a result of it.  It is in this chapter where DuBois makes the argument that initiatives like the Freedman's Bureau were simply token efforts by the government, initiatives that failed to really strike at the problem and lay out some semblance of a solution where people of color authentically shared in the construction of power and in where a sense of equality could be evident.

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The Souls of Black Folk

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