Fifty Years Among Black Folks

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Intro. To Sociology W.E. Burghardt Dubois was a cornerstone in the social revolution that took place in the early nineteen hundreds. He was a thoughtful motivator and in this article he provides a reason for hope and encouragement. Not from some fabricated expectations for the future but from reflecting on that which has already occurred. In his essay, Dubois states that within fifty years, the black race has aspired from being a "penniless, landless, naked ignorant laborer, once refered to as real-estate, to becoming a recognized part of the American government." Dubois provides the voice that everyone needs to hear.

After the civil war ended and the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the black race entered the free world penniless and naked. They experienced unimaginable hardships and endured to overcome. Over ninety-five percent of them were totally illiterate, they owned no property, had no prior work experience, and had no form of education at all.

Despite being tosses into this new environment in the condition they were in, they rose above their obstacles and proceeded grow as a people.

Dubois had a purpose in writing this essay. These people have been taken advantage of, oppressed, violated, and treated as second class. They were battered but not broken. Dubois recognized something here and he wanted to tell people about his discoveries. The black people, despite all the strikes against them, have managed to pull themselves up and stand on their own two feet. "They have arisen from apathy and timid complaint to open protest and more manly self-assertions." They were beginning to see themselves as equals with equal amount to give to society and demanding the respect they deserve. Dubois goes to spout out statistics of what the black community has accomplished. He testifies that the black people "owns 500,000 homes, 250,000 farms, accumulated $600,000,000 worth of property, conduct every seventh farm and raise every sixteenth dollars worth of crops." When freed, over ninety-eight percent was illiterate and now, fifty years past that, two-thirds can. "They are gaining their own leaders, their own voices, their own ideas, they have gone from unorganized irresponsibility to organized group life." Dubois wants to point out to everyone, to bring to their attention, all that the black people have accomplished with as little as they started with. They have become efficient and he desires that they get the recognition that they deserve. Dubois is a reminder of what we are. Where we have been and where we are going. When we look at these writings we can relate to the past and the better we understand people in the past we can better understand ourselves in the present.

Work Cited 1. Dubois, W.E. Burghardt. "Fifty Years Among Black Folks."