Urban Spaces. Urban Sounds. Urban Souls.
Book report by Marshall Antwoin Akins
Dear Urban Spiritz Family,
today I can present you an interesting book report about a very important work for American cultural studies, Sociology and History. My good friend Marshall took some time to give you a brief overview and idea of how he has worked with it. I hope you will enjoy his post as much as i did and that we will get to read much more by him soon.
You all have a nice day!
was written by W. E.B. Du Bois in 1903. I used this book in my research paper titled “The Disappearance of the Political Message in Rap Music from the Post-Civil Rights Era to the Present Day” by Marshall Akins to highlight the change in the message of Hip-Hop today.
In his book Du Bois attempts to explain the “problem of the color line”. At first glance the book may seem to expand to the already obvious segregation between white and black, but Du Bois actually takes a look at the segregation between northern and southern blacks. He carefully lays out the history of black folks through Emancipation until his present day. In each era he highlights special events and how it helped shaping the soul of black folks or better yet the mind of black folks.
Most importantly the book itself directly refutes the notion or the message of the Atlanta Compromise written and given by Booker T. Washington. For Du Bois, the Washington Compromise is the wrong approach for blacks to take to come up. This argument becomes very important as throughout the years after Du Bois and Washington blacks have often been divided among themselves either choosing the Du Bois or Washington route. This division is very evident in the journey of Hip-Hop from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s to present day, as music once had a powerful political message, but now has a more materialistic and capitalist message according to fan base.
For Du Bois in order for blacks to make a come up, they must first invest in academic education and the development or sustainment of black culture as separate but equal. For Washington, blacks folks could only make a come up by giving up on academic education and investing in become skilled workers, making money, and finding a way to survive within the capitalist system. Du Bois argued against most of Washington’s notions and suggested that they will eventually lead to blacks being trapped and never being able to become essentially free or equal in the capitalist. As one reads through Du Bois’ argument and take into account that journey of rap music, one can begin to see how the soul of black folks have become so diverse and at the same time at odd ends with each other. It will also demonstrate the separation of black folks as various identities are often at war with each other (the educated black man or woman versus the thug or hood rat).
The book itself is a very short read, but yet requires a lot of attention to understand the argument of both men. The book offers a very powerful look into the social history of black folks and how different areas helped shape them today. It’s a must read for anyone that would love to understand the philosophy of race and the soul of black folks.
Get the book for a reasonable price on Amazon.
Du Bois, W.E.B: The Souls of Black Folk (1994). Dover Thrift Edition.
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