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Remembering The Souls

Remembering The Souls

It wasn’t difficult coming up with a theme for our annual Black History Month edition. Because the 100th anniversary of the publication of W.E.B. Du Bois’ classic essay collection, The Souls of Black Folk, has generated a groundswell of scholarly activity and upcoming tributes, Black Issues wanted to present readers stories on the high esteem accorded by the academic community to the legacy of that influential book and its author. Without a doubt, the essays in The Souls of Black Folk have given readers for a century an enduring and timeless literary portrait of the African American experience in the United States. More than anything, the essay collection is a testament to Du Bois’ formidable literary imagination and personal courage, and portends his eventual career as a social activist and editor of the legendary Crisis magazine.

In Kendra Hamilton’s article, “Celebrating 100 Years, The Souls of Black Folk Represents a Timeless Legacy,” scholars and writers describe in dramatic terms how Du Bois formulated classic interpretations of the Black experience. In the biographical sketch of Du Bois, Hamilton does a great service in placing the influential book in context with the achievement of his classic works in history, sociology and social protest. A partial listing of events in 2003 celebrating the centennial recognition of The Souls of Black Folk rounds out our cover story package.

No Black History Month edition would be complete without some acknowledgment of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of “Negro History Week,” out of which resulted the month-long celebration now afforded to recognition of African American history. While Dr. James L. Conyers, the director of the African American studies program at the University of Houston, pays tribute to Woodson’s legacy, Black Issues senior writer Ronald Roach reports on efforts to restore Woodson’s former home in a historic neighborhood in Washington, D.C. This edition includes a round up of Black History Month events at colleges and universities around the nation, a perennial and popular staple of this special report.

In notable news and features, Charles Dervarics updates our on-going coverage of the University of Michigan affirmative action case as well as presents the latest picture on federal higher education funding moves by the Congress and the Bush administration. BI correspondent Tracie Powell reports on a growing movement by sympathetic historically Black college administrations, concerned students, and citizens to come to the aid of the beleaguered Morris Brown College, which is appealing the impending loss of its accreditation status. The movement seems to underscore a deep and abiding commitment Black Americans have to historically Black institutions.

Speaking of affirmative action, BI columnist Julianne Malveaux weighs in with an informative analysis of the college admissions process with “The Art and Science of College Admissions.” Stay tuned for our next edition, which will focus on affirmative action in higher education.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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