Veil in The Souls of Black Folk quot;For now we see through a glass,
W.E.B. Du Bois’s *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I*, a
collection of autobiographical and historical essays contains
many themes. There is the theme of souls and their attainment
of consciousness, the theme of double consciousness and the
duality and bifurcation of black life and culture; but one of
the most striking themes is that of “the veil.” The
veil provides a link between the 14 seemingly unconnected
essays that make up *I*The Souls of Black Folk*/I*. Mentioned
at least once in most of the 14 essays it means that,
“the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil,
and gifted with second sight in this American world, -a world
with yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him
see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is
a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense
of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of
name=Footnote1A*Footnote1*/A* The veil is a metaphor for the
separation and invisibility of black life and existence in
America and is a reoccurring theme in books about black life
*br* Du Bois’s veil metaphor, “In those somber forests
of his striving his own soul rose before him, and he saw
himself, -darkly as though through a veil”*A
href=#Footnote2B name=Footnote2A*Footnote2*/A*, is a allusion
to Saint Paul’s line in Isiah 25:7, “For now we see
through a glass, darkly.”*A href=#Footnote3B
name=Footnote3A*Footnote3*/A* Saint Paul’s use of the veil in
Isiah and later in Second Corinthians is similar to Du Bois’s
use of the metaphor of the veil. Both writers claim that as
long as one is wrapped in the veil their attempts to gain
self-consciousness will fail because they will always see the
image of themselves reflect back to them by others. Du Bois
applies this by claiming that as long as on is behind the
veil the, “world which yields him no self-consciousness
but who only lets him see himself through the revelation of
the other world.”*A href=#Footnote4B
name=Footnote4A*Footnote4*/A* Saint Paul in Second
Corinthians says the way to self consciousness and an
understanding lies in, “the veil being taken away, Now
the lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the lord is
there is liberty.” Du Bois does not claim that
transcending the veil will lead to a better understanding of
the lord but like Saint Paul he finds that only through
transcending “the veil” can people achieve liberty
*br* The veil metaphor in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* is
symbolic of the invisibility of blacks in America. Du Bois
says that Blacks in America are a forgotten people,
“after the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the
Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son,
born with a veil.”*A href=#Footnote5B
name=Footnote5A*Footnote5*/A* The invisibility of Black
existence in America is one of the reasons why Du Bois writes
*I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* in order to elucidate the
“invisible” history and strivings of Black
Americans, “I have sought here to sketch, in vague,
uncertain outline, the spiritual world in which ten thousand
Americans live and strive.”*A href=#Footnote6B
name=Footnote6A*Footnote6*/A* Du Bois in each of the
following chapters tries to manifest the strivings of Black
existence from that of the reconstruction period to the black
spirituals and the stories of rural black children that he
tried to educate. Du Bois in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* is
grappling with trying to establish some sense of history and
memory for Black Americans, Du Bois struggles in the pages of
the book to prevent Black Americans from becoming a Seventh
Son invisible to the rest of the world, hidden behind a veil
of prejudice, “Hear my Cry, O God the reader vouch safe
that this my book fall not still born into the
world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle one, from its
leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the
harvest wonderful.”*A href=#Footnote7B
*br*The invisibility of Black existence is a recurring theme
in other books about Black history. In Raboteau’s book slave
religion is called, “the invisible institution of the
antebellum South.”*A href=#Footnote8B
name=Footnote8A*Footnote8*/A* Raboteau tries to uncover and