Community Read of The Souls of Black Folk

This free online community read has concluded. Recordings of all sessions may be found on our YouTube channel. If you would like to see more of this type of programming, please consider making a donation to support the project.

October 13, 2020 – March 2, 2021

Join Clinton Church Restoration for a virtual community read of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. This classic text combines classic elegy, autobiographical sketches, sociological studies, short fiction, theology, political protest, musicology, historical profiles, biblical allusion, education, collective economics, women’s issues, race relations, literature classics, and Greek mythology. 

Dr. Du Bois is a major thinker in the American political thought tradition and he had a towering influence upon the study of race and racism in the United States. However, we rarely take the time to appreciate the entire sweep of his classic work; we typically stop short at a quick reading of “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” or the famous metaphors of the Talented Tenth, the “color line,” double consciousness, and veiled insightfulness. 

Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, photo by Jay Rhind
photo by Jay Rhind

Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, historian, scholar and Clinton Church Restoration board member, will moderate a weekly read of each of the fourteen chapters in Souls. She will be joined by guest scholars for a discussion of themes and concepts that seem to be perennial in African American life and culture. The read will begin October 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm and be held weekly on Tuesday evenings (with breaks for Election Day and holidays) through March 2, 2021, the week after Dr. Du Bois’s birthday.

There is no charge but donations are welcome.

Register by clicking on the yellow chapter links below
(registration is limited so please cancel or let us know if you won’t be able to attend)

Recordings of past sessions may be found on our YouTube channel

October 13, 2020
Chapter 1: “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”
Guest scholars Dr. MaryNell Morgan-Brown and Dr. Rashida Braggs

October 20, 2020
Chapter 2: “Of the Dawn of Freedom”
Guest scholar Dr. Barbara Krauthamer

October 27, 2020
Chapter 3: “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”
Guest scholar Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste

November 10, 2020
Chapter 4: “Of the Meaning of Progress
Guest scholar Dr. Kendra Field

November 17, 2020
Chapter 5: “Of the Wings of Atalanta”
Guest scholar Dr. Barbara McCaskill

December 1, 2020
Chapter 6: “Of the Training of Black Men”
Guest Scholar Dr. Horace Ballard

December 8, 2020
Chapter 7: “Of the Black Belt”
Guest scholar Dr. Gretchen Long

December 15, 2020
Chapter 8: “Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece”
Guest scholar Kiese Laymon, MFA

January 12, 2021
Chapter 9: “Of the Sons of Master and Man”
Guest scholar Dr. Dolan Hubbard

January 19, 2021
Chapter 10: “Of the Faith of the Fathers”
Guest scholar Dr. Reginald Hildebrand

January 26, 2021
Chapter 11: “Of the Passing of the First-Born”
Guest scholars Dr. Nadine Wedderburn and Dr. Ruby Inez Vega

February 9, 2021 — note new date!
Chapter 12: “Of Alexander Crummel”
Guest scholar Dr. David Levering Lewis

February 16, 2021 — note new date!
Chapter 13: “Of the Coming of John”
Guest scholar Dr. Martha Jones

March 2, 2021 — note new date!
Chapter 14: “The Sorrow Songs”
Guest scholar Dr. MaryNell Morgan-Brown

Thank you to our sponsors!
Housatonic Heritage, Berkshire Property Agents, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Berkshire Money Management, Berkshire Coop, Lee Bank, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, David and Julie McCarthy, The Bookloft, Berkshire Bank and Housatonic River Walk, a project of the Great Barrington Land Conservancy.

Meet our guest scholars

Top row (l-r): MaryNell Morgan-Brown, Rashida Braggs, Barbara Krauthamer, Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Kendra Field; Second row: Barbara McCaskill, Horace Ballard, Gretchen Long, Kiese Laymon, Dolan Hubbard; Third row: Reginald Hildebrand, Nadine Wedderburn, Ruby Inez Vega, David Levering Lewis, Martha Jones

NOTE: We recommend a version of The Souls of Black Folk that includes the music and poetry in the beginning of each chapter, such as . Note that the preferred versions of the book have “Of” in the title of the first 13 chapters. The book is also available at no charge at