Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line. I pray you, then, receive my little book in all charity, studying my words with me, forgiving mistake and foible for sake of the faith and passion that is in me, and seeking the grain of truth hidden there. I have sought here to sketch, in vague, uncertain outline, the spiritual world in which ten thousand thousand Americans live and strive. First, in two chapters I have tried to show what Emancipation meant to them, and what was its aftermath. In a third chapter I have pointed out the slow rise of personal leadership, and criticized candidly the leader who bears the chief burden of his race to-day. Then, in two other chapters I have sketched in swift outline the two worlds within and without the Veil, and thus have come to the central problem of training men for life. Venturing now into deeper detail, I have in two chapters studied the struggles of the massed millions of the black peasantry, and in another have sought to make clear the present relations of the sons of master and man. Leaving, then, the white world, I have stepped within the Veil, raising it that you may view faintly its deeper recesses, -the meaning of its religion, the passion of its human sorrow, and the struggle of its greater souls. All this I have ended with a tale twice told but seldom written, and a chapter of song. - Taken from "The Souls Of Black Folk" written by W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was an African American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, and socialist. Born in Massachusetts, he was raised in Great Barrington, an integrated community. He studied at the University of Berlin and at Harvard, where he became the first African American scholar to earn a doctorate. He worked as a professor at Atlanta University, a historically black institution, and was one of the leaders of the Niagara Movement, which advocated for equal rights and opposed Booker T. Washington's Atlanta compromise. In 1909, he cofounded the NAACP and served for years as the editor of its official magazine The Crisis. In addition to his activism against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and other forms of discrimination and segregation, Du Bois authored such influential works as The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and Black Reconstruction in America (1935). A lifelong opponent of racism and a committed pacifist, Du Bois advocated for socialism as a means of replacing racial capitalism in America and around the world. In the 1920s, he used his role at The Crisis to support the artists of the Harlem Renaissance and sought to emphasize the role of African Americans in shaping American society in his book The Gift of Black Folk (1924).