Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The Souls of Black Folk
I'm still reading this but it's been so interesting that I want to post about it now.
In my opinion, it started off good, but not great. If I were less ignorant of American history, I might like the beginning better.
In the first 2 chapters , DuBois soulfully recounts the history of emancipation. The flames, famine, hardship and suffering of this story left me with a heavy heart. There are a lot of details about the Freedmen's Bureau and the bills and the struggles that were only partly overcome. It's good, but it would have helped to have a mini-encylopedia on hand to make the dry details a little more lively.
The book picks up quite a bit after pulling us out of the trying sad history.
It pulsates with scathing anger at Booker T Washington, so of course, that chapter flew by. I read it with a look of shock and finished it with a gasp. How did we miss all this in history class?
DuBois continues by writing warmly and lovingly of his first students and their families when he teaches in the South. There's nothing quite like a first hand account of life in Jim Crow days.
Now I'm reading his chapter on Atlanta... wow.. He compares Atlanta to Atalanta who loses the race because of her love of gold. He then explains how this impacted the development of school and life for all of the South, not just blacks. He says something about how the pursuit of Bread overtook the pursuit of Life. It seems like much hasn't changed. Those who have the most bread end up with the power to run our schools.