The book accounts for the personal experiences of W. E. B. Du Bois growing up as a black in America and calls on people to fight for their rights. The introduction is a call from the author that the blacks living in the south should have the right to vote, access education, and be treated equally. He says that being black is viewed differently by those who are white. Black people measure their worth based on the white people say. In his view, that is advantageous to the Black-Americans as they have to work harder to be noticed.
The author gives a narration of the period after the war. It goes on to describe the role of Freedmen’s Bureau in aiding slaves. The bureau’s powers reduced when Ku Klux Klan came into play. Chapter 3 describes education as the way to progress for the African-Americans. Booker T. Washington often clashed with the author as their perspectives on education deferred. The 4th chapter is where the author delves on the real description of progress.
The author explores the psychological make-up of the African-Americans and how segregation has affected them. With the various prejudices and limited access to opportunities, blacks always wallow in poverty. In chapter 10, the author describes the African-Americans as the most religious people in America. Most of the things the author focuses on here are still relevant in modern times.
Du Bois dedicates the rest of the book to different individuals. In chapter 11, he talks of the son he had who died at infant years. The 12th chapter delves on Alexander Crummell. He was the first priest of African origin to be ordained by the ordained in a European. The author then tells the story of John, who was born in Georgia. John went to an elite school but could not fit when he returned home. The fact that John felt out of place made him unhappy, and he died early.
The final part of the book explored the evolution of black music. Most of the songs depicted a slave as a happy person. However, that is not true in reality. If anything, the songs give a picture of a person who is in sorrow and longs for something. Most of the descriptions in this book are about the state of the African-American and the need to treat them equal to the other races in America.