Illustration of W. E. B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk

by W. E. B. Du Bois

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Topics for Further Study

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  • Consider Du Bois' and Washington's assertions about educational opportunities for African Americans. Given recent controversy over affirmative action policies, where do you think the two would locate themselves in this debate, and why?
  • Consider the role of song in the text. Given Du Bois' discussion of what he terms ‘‘Negro music’’ in ‘‘The Sorrow Songs,’’ how might he interpret the evolution of African-American music in the last century?
  • In The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois makes use of a blend of shifting tones and forms. Discuss how this versatility reflects and impacts the thematic material, and what the author's intent may have been.

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