W. E. B. Du Bois Souls of Black Folk: A Graphic Interpretation by Paul Peart-Smith
Rutgers University Press, April 2023
“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” These were the prescient words of W. E. B. Du Bois’s influential 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. The preeminent Black intellectual of his generation, Du Bois wrote about the trauma of seeing the Reconstruction era’s promise of racial equality cruelly dashed by the rise of white supremacist terror and Jim Crow laws. Yet he also argued for the value of African American cultural traditions and provided inspiration for countless civil rights leaders who followed him. Now artist Paul Peart-Smith offers the first graphic adaptation of Du Bois’s seminal work.
Peart-Smith’s graphic adaptation provides historical and cultural contexts that bring to life the world behind Du Bois’s words. Readers will get a deeper understanding of the cultural debates The Souls of Black Folk engaged in, with more background on figures like Booker T. Washington, the advocate of black economic uplift, and the Pan-Africanist minister Alexander Crummell. This new release vividly conveys the continuing legacy of The Souls of Black Folk, effectively updating it for the era of the 1619 Project and Black Lives Matter.