"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, " wrote W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk, one of the most prophetic and influential works in American literature. First published in 1903, this eloquent collection of essays exposed the magnitude of racism in our society. The book endures today as a classic document of American social and political history: a manifesto that has influenced generations with its transcendent vision of change.
John Edgar Wideman observed: "Like Freud's excavations of the unconscious, Einstein's revelations of the physical universe, Marx's exploration of the economic foundations of social organization, Du Bois's insights have profoundly altered the way we look at ourselves."