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 does not play a substantial active role in the narrative, his appearance carries important symbolic significance. Because he dies before he can grow up to understand and experience the reality of the Veil, Burghardt remains in a permanent state of innocence and freedom, such that his father feels a perverse sense of relief over his fate. Du Bois also makes a point of mentioning Burghardt’s light-colored hair and blue eyes, mixed-race features that he suggests may have foreshadowed Burghardt’s tragic fate. The implication of this observation is that Burghardt particularly contains the violent legacy of slavery within himself, somewhat like the “tragic mulatto” figure of the American literary tradition. The Souls of Black Folk is dedicated to Burghardt and to Du Bois’ daughter, Yolande, who grew up to become a teacher.