Black Folk by W. E. Burghardt du Bois
Black Folk by W. E. Burghardt du Bois
Black Folk by W. E. Burghardt du Bois

Black Folk : Then and Now ; An Essay in the History and Sociology of the Negro Race by W. E. Burghardt du Bois

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New York : Henry, Holt and Company, 1944. Hardcover. 401 pages ; maps ; 25 cm. $3.75 dust jacket with lots of rips and tears around the jacket edges. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.


THE STORY of the Negro peoples of the world, from prehistoric times to the present, is one with which few of us, white or black, are familiar. Professor Du Bois has devoted a lifetime to the study of his people, past and present. In this broad-ranging book he presents not only the history of the Negro, but an account of the culture he has created, the economic and sociological factors which bear upon him today, and challenge which he offers to the mo world.

Yet this is far from being a mere work of scholarship. It will come as a surprise to white readers to learn how many of the great historical figures of the past have been wholly or partially Negro in derivation. From the time of Egypt's great queen, Nefertari, onward there have been Negroes of world-wide importance — the names of Toussaint L'Ouverture, Jean Christophe, and the Mahdi among those who have been warriors. The Church has had Negro saints —St. Benedict the Moor and St. Martin of Porres. The list of writers is a long one. Both Alexandre Dumas and Pushkin had Negro blood in their veins. The contributions of the Negro people *o sculpture, music, and the arts are only beginning to be recognized.

Professor Du Bois is nowhere in the course of this book an apologist for his people. He attempts, without rancor, to restore to the Negro his rightful place in the human story. More than that, in a series of powerful chapters on the slave trade and the modern lot of Negroes in the world, he comes to grips with the fundamental issues of our time as they appear to a people still economically unenfranchised in great sections of society. "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," he declares, and documents his case.

For those who feel that the white race is the only important one that the world has known, this volume is required reading. For those who realize that the case for human equality of opportunity rests upon knowledge and understanding, Professor Du Bois's book will be an invaluable survey of a neglected field. It is written with a high sincerity and without special pleading.

Professor Du Bois teaches in the Atlanta University and is the author of a standard anthropological text, THE NEGRO.

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