The Souls of Black Folk

by

W.E.B. Du Bois

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The Souls of Black Folk Characters

W.E.B. Du Bois

As well as being the author and narrator of the book, Du Bois also plays a prominent role as a character within his own narrative. Much of the book consists of first-person accounts of Du… (read full character analysis)

Booker T. Washington

At the time Du Bois was writing, Booker T. Washington was the most famous African-American leader in history. Born around 1856 into slavery, Washington later worked for the uplift of Southern black people through the… (read full character analysis)

Josie

Josie appears in the chapter on Du Bois’ time teaching in Tennessee. Having graduated from the Teachers’ Institute, Du Bois searches in vain for a school in need of a teacher, and it’s only… (read full character analysis)

Burghardt Du Bois

Burghardt is the infant son of W.E.B. Du Bois. He dies as a baby, and his brief life and death are chronicled in the chapter entitled “Of the Passing of the First-Born.” Although Burghardt… (read full character analysis)

Alexander Crummell

Like Booker T. Washington, Alexander Crummell also gets his own chapter in The Souls of Black Folk, although Du Bois’ presentation of Crummell is much more flattering. Indeed, Du Bois’ inclusion of… (read full character analysis)
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John Jones

Du Bois dedicates Chapter 13 to the story of John Jones, a fictional character arguably representative of late 19th-century Southern black men as a whole. John grows up in Altamaha in Southeast Georgia, and he… (read full character analysis)

The "White John"

The “White John” is the son of a powerful white Judge in Altamaha, Georgia. The White John was the childhood playmate of John Jones (who is black), but the two grew apart and now have… (read full character analysis)

The Judge

The Judge is a white man of influence in John Jones’s hometown of Altamaha, Georgia; he’s the father of the “White John.” The Judge employs John Jones’s sister, Jennie, as a… (read full character analysis)

Jennie

Jennie is John Jones’s sister who works as domestic help in the Judge’s home. When the Judge’s son, the “White John,” comes home to Altamaha from Princeton, he notices for the… (read full character analysis)