The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another unexplainable gap in my education was never having read anything actually by Du Bois, although I had read plenty about him. Finally, I got around to reading this book and I was blown away. Although written more than 100 years ago, Du Bois's analysis of the race problem is spot on. Here are the opening sentences:
"Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: masked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter around it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, 'How does it feel to be a problem?' they say, 'I know an excellent colored man in my town;' or, 'I fought at Mechanicsville;' or, 'Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil?' At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, 'How does it feel to be a problem' I answer seldom a word."
It is unexcusable that it took me more than 50 years to get to this book. The loss in my understanding for so long is a pity. I never knew what I was missing.