W. E. B. Du Bois Souls of Black Folk: A Graphic Interpretation
“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 beautifully illustrated book 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.
Praise for W. E. B. Du Bois Souls of Black Folk: A Graphic Interpretation
“In this wonderfully innovative collaboration of image and text, Buhle, Boyd, and Peart-Smith present a graphic W.E.B. Du Bois whose immemorial words are so brilliantly visualized that Souls will speak to generations to come. Buhle, Boyd, and Peart-Smith's offering is superb.”
— David Levering Lewis
"[A] masterpiece...Peart-Smith’s work in this text expresses the pain, frustration and the joy DuBois’ text is known for. The art is both realistic and dreamlike....This retelling of The Souls of Black Folk deserves a place among the pantheon of great graphic texts like Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Alan Moore’s The Watchmen."
— Ron Jacobs
"[A] masterful graphic adaptation and edited interpretation...[I]n their stylistic and artistic representation of Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk, Peart-Smith, Buhle, and Boyd provide the public and the world of academia with a stellar presentation and remembrance of Du Bois’s pungent polemic and profound prophecy."
— Patrick Delices
"An incredible achievement. This work makes Du Bois accessible in whole new ways and does so with great pathos and sensitivity. I don’t know how you can read this book and not be moved and outraged. Outraged, because it’s all still so relevant. That I have to type that gives me a vertiginous feeling, but it’s true, and in that sense, it’s incredibly timely."
— Nick Abadzis