What do you think inspired W.E.B. Du Bois to write The Souls of Black Folk?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that the articulation of a post Civil War reality for African- Americans would be the primary motivation for Du Bois in writing his work.  The post slavery world featured a great deal of challenge in terms of how African- Americans would identify themselves.  Within this framework was the notion that identity for people of color in America would carry with it many challenges.  Different voices were out there, such as Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, as how African- Americans should establish their identities in this world.  Along these lines was the reality that the new wave of industrialization was complicating matters of identity and within it, the question of how to construct one's political, social, economic, and personal identity were all there confronting people of color, and in particular, African-Americans.  In this void, Du Bois offers his thoughts.