W.E.B Du Bois.
In creating my blog, I have decided to focus my posts for the next few weeks on the people and texts that I am studying in my American Literature module this semester. For the first few weeks of lectures so far we have been looking at racial tensions in America and how coloured writers in America discussed the social problems that were present at the time.
One of the most interesting people that was mentioned in the lectures is W.E.B Du Bois. We read some extracts from his influential collection of essays entitled The Souls of Black Folk and examined how Du Bois discussed how being both African and American caused a sense of confusion as to where coloured people belonged in society.
It was fascinating to learn about African Americans and racial tensions in this way as I had never thought about how people may feel conflicted between two identities, particularly Mixed race people who may not view themselves as part of either White or Black society.
In The Souls of Black Folk Du Bois mentions the idea of double-consciousness and how African Americans view society as both Africans and Americans, and also how their own identity is affected by how White Americans view them.
It was also interesting to learn about how proactive Du Bois was in furthering the lives of African Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was very passionate about securing more political and educational rights for African Americans, and in 1905, along with other influential social activists, founded the Niagara Movement. This organisation eventually led to the founding of the NAACP in 1910.
Even though there are clearly racial tensions still present in America, it is inspiring to learn about how African Americans such as W.E.B Du Bois have played a significant role in the bettering of the lives of African Americans today.