The Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois Reader encompasses the whole of Du Bois's long and multifaceted writing career, from the 1890s through the early 1960s. The volume selects key essays and longer works that portray the range of Du Bois's thought on such subjects as African American culture, the politics and sociology of American race relations, art and music, black leadership, gender and women's rights, Pan-Africanism and anti-colonialism, and Communism in the U.S. and abroad.
Chronologically, the volume stretches from definitive early essays such as "The Conservation of Races" to later works such as "Africa and World Peace" and "Gandhi and the American Negro." Du Bois's most famous book, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), and his landmark work on colonialism, Darkwater
(1920), which contains many of his best-known shorter essays, such as "The African Roots of the War," "On Being Black," and "The Burden of Black Women," are both printed in their entirety. Key chapters drawn from full-length studies, including The Philadelphia Negro, The Gift of Black Folk, Black Reconstruction, Dusk of Dawn, The World and Africa, In Battle for Peace, and Du Bois's posthumous autobiography are supplemented by dozens of shorter essays covering topics in literature, education, African politics, urban studies, and American foreign policy. Individual essays and selections from longer works also illustrate Du Bois's skillful biographical studies of historical figures such as Toussaint L'Ouverture, Phillis Wheatley, Abraham Lincoln, and John Brown, as well as contemporaries like
Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Paul Robeson, and Joseph Stalin. Supplemented by an extensive critical introduction and headnotes to major works and topics, theOxford Reader offers the most extensive compilation of Du Bois's writings now available.