I’ve just read an amazing book by a writer I only heard of a few days ago:

W E B Du Bois 1868- 1963, ‘ The Souls of Black Folk ‘ .  This is truly original, it is more like a collection of books in very different styles.  Some parts are a straight factual historical account of slavery as it was in the Southern states two hundred years ago and the working and living conditions after the Civil War until 1903 when the book was published.  His term for the complete segregation of black people was “the veil”.

   Other parts of his book are written in wonderful poetic language describing his own personal life and the lives of other  black men and the conditions under which they lived and died.  This is the way men and women suffer when they have no representation in the political system and the police and the courts defend the dominant race entirely. His aim is to make you feel the daily horror of their lives and this he does with great skill.  

He was a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and was one of the first black students to be awarded a doctorate from Harvard, although he was not allowed to live in the university halls of residence.  He later studied in Germany and on his return to the USA became a teacher and a highly esteemed writer.  He was one of the founding members of the National Association For the Advancement of Coloured People.  He makes the point that segregation in the common place activities of life, like buying a cup of coffee, going to school, standing in line at the post office is damaging for both the white and the black races.

 I’m very grateful I was able to read this book on my kindle.


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