W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and the City: "The Philadelphia Negro" and Its Legacy

University of Pennsylvania Press

In 1896 W. E. B. Du Bois began research that resulted three years later in the publication of his great classic of urban sociology and history, The Philadelphia Negro. Today, a group of the nation's leading historians and sociologists celebrate the centenary of his project through a reappraisal of his book. Motivated by Du Bois's deeply humane vision of racial equality, the contributors draw on ethnography, intellectual and social history, and statistical analysis to situate Du Bois and his pioneering study in the intellectual milieu of the late nineteenth century, consider his contributions to the subsequent social scientific and historical studies of the city, and assess the contemporary meaning of his work. Together these essays show that The Philadelphia Negro remains as vital and relevant a book at the end of the twentieth century as it was at the start.