What does "The Souls of Black Folk" mean according to Dubois?

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

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There can be many approaches to this question.  I think that being able to explore the dual consciousness in people of color would be one meaning of what lies inside "the souls of black folk."  The reality is that the problem of "the color line" demarcates a unique and different experience in America.  Exploring this reality is part of what lies inside the narrative of people of color in America.  At the same time, the "veil" that covers the experiences of both groups in America, causing them to perceive reality different is another part of what lies inside the souls of those who are of color in America.  For DuBois, there is little way to overcome the issue of race and so comprehending its vast implications in all realms becomes critical.  The exploration of racial dynamics and its effects in academic, social, political, and even personal realms becomes of vital importance to Americans of color, particular African- Americans.  For DuBois, African- Americans live at the hyphen of being both public participants in the experiment of democracy, but also have to reside in the private reality that compels them to examine how issues of race and ethnicity formulate their own consciousness.  It is such a reality that is at the heart of "the souls of black folk."

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