Author(s): W.E.B. du Bois
'It is the aim of this essay to study the period of history from 1861 to 1872 so far as it relates to the American Negro. In effect, this tale of the dawn of Freedom is an account of that government of men called the Freedmen's Bureau, - one of the most singular and interesting of the attempts made by a great nation to grapple with vast problems of race and social condition.' Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) is the greatest of African American intellectuals; a sociologist, historian, novelist, and activist whose astounding career spanned the nation's history from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Fisk, Harvard, and the University of Berlin, Du Bois penned his epochal masterpiece The Souls of Black Folk, from which this selection is taken, in 1903. It remains his most studied and popular work; its insights into life at the turn of the 20th century still ring true.