W.E.B Dubois Philadelphia Negro

W.E.BDubois Philadelphia Negro

W.E.BDubois Philadelphia Negro

Inthe book, ThePhiladelphia Negro,Du Bois introduces the readers to his defined and well thought theapproach that concerns two areas (DuBois, 2013). The areas includesocial research design and the methodological triangulation. Therewas the use of census data in the documentation of the basic trends.Some of the trends that were captured included racial inequalitythroughout Philadelphia (DuBois, 2013). In instances wherecomparisons could be made census statistics were used.

Throughthe survey carried out in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia, thequality of African American life is evident particularly in regardsto the urban life (DuBois, 2013). The author applies ethnographicmethod as a way of ensuring clarity in data in regards to the housingconditions, poverty levels, the differences that exist in classessocially, crime and racial prejudice and the discrimination thatexist within his study area. The author uses a sample area for hisstudy which is representative of the entire region. This is evidentthrough the comments on African American quality of life. Thecomments indeed were representative of the entire position.

ThePhiladelphia Negroremains as one of the earliest sociological studies that were basedon empirical research (DuBois, 2013). The Philadelphia studyrepresents a classic study of both urban ethnography and ecology. Tosome extent, one can affirm that this study is just but a definitivestudy in race relations at the time.

Reviewingthe work, it is evident that the goal of the research was mainly tostudy the social and living conditions of individuals within theSeventh Ward. The study was carried out with so much accuracy inregards to the statistics involved. This kind of accuracy would thenbe the grounds on which reform would be executed.

Themanner in which Du Bois approaches and frames the “challengesfacing Negros” as social issues is so tactical. After successfullyframing it, he then proceeds to discuss the different social problemsthat affect the African American population living in Philadelphiawith attention given to the Seventh Ward (DuBois, 2013). The authoruses census data as a means of identifying the broad general trends.Some of the issues under focus in the census data include maritalstatus and the literacy levels as well as population distribution.Doing the survey of the Seventh Ward can be linked to providing veryprecise information concerning social class and housing.

Theauthor was strategic to collect ethnographic data, which was meant toassist in filling the gaps in some of the topics (DuBois, 2013). Suchtopics include crime, prejudice, and discrimination. It is worthnoting that the author also employs the use of historical analysis.This is done strategically to help in comprehension of thedevelopment of certain issues like the growth of African Americancommunity residing in Philadelphia. The use of historical analysisalso helps in the design and the growth of support structure like theBlack Church.

Thesurvey of the Seventh Ward was done over a period of fifteen months.During this time, approximately 9,700 persons were studied, and thisoccurred in 2,250 households (DuBois, 2013). The study was donethrough door-to-door surveys. During the process, five schedules wereapplied. The schedules focused on individuals, family, home, thestreet and the organizations applied. Looking at the schedules, thereare high chances that they were designed after the schedules used byBooth and Du Bois seemingly was in the know for the double methodapplied by Booth (DuBois, 2013). According to the double method,individuals were segmented by their residential areas and theoccupation. Even the in the interviews that were applied by Du Bois,they were of the standard. The interviews mostly targeted ahousewife, landlord, and a neighbor. The interviews he did lasted forten minutes each hour.

Duringthe study, Du Bois cautions the reader to be keen and avoid mereassumptions. Also, the author ensures that there is no bias byavoiding overgeneralization such as using deceptive answers,omissions or judgment errors. In fact, Du Bois ensured that there isminimal bias in research by personally carrying out the research.When carrying the researcher individually, Du Bois only left room forthe personal bias (DuBois, 2013). Evidently, the aim of the study wasto ensure that there is truth regardless of its unpleasant nature.Carrying out the study in this manner undisputed offer the chance forsocial reform in future.

Thestudy mainly addressed the challenges that were faced by the AfricanAmerican community while leaving in Seventh Ward, Philadelphia. Someof the issues under focus included the size of the population,composition, migration, education, marital status of persons,alcoholism, housing, social class and the political process. Whilediscussing the social challenges, the author traced the historicalroots of the problems and made comparisons of the races at the levelof the city (DuBois, 2013). In fact, in some cases, the author gavethe comparative city, national data and international data. Out ofthis, the author then turned to specific issues that faced theresidents of the Seventh Ward. The author would not just stop at theidentification of the issues, but would then proceed to identify mostof the major social factors that are known to affect the situation(DuBois, 2013).

Asfar as there are much heterogeneities that is in Philadelphia, thediscussion of class differences in regards to intra-racial is one ofthe most instructive points (DuBois, 2013). While providing thediversity in the existing classes, the pattern and the culturaldifferences that existed among the Blacks in Philadelphia Du Boisdoes not ignore the various paradigms that made the blacks be treatedas homogenous. In supporting his points, Du Bois shows thesignificance of class heterogeneity while drawing out causation andcorrelation with the racial disparities and the cultural differencesand the viewpoints within a group.


Fromthe study, it is evident that the study was one was a sociologicalinquiry of its kind. Du Bois identified and evaluated the otherstructural factors that affected the quality of life among theAfrican Americans mainly in urban setups. Some of the issues underconcern included organizational support networks, the standards ofliving, racial discrimination as well as family structure (DuBois,2013). Du Bois never engaged in any blame when carrying out hisstudies. The author mainly focused on the interplay that existsbetween the structural inequality and social uplift. In the end, DuBois avoided taking system blame or culture blame. The approachadopted ensured that the measures taken up were just complimentaryand not mutual exclusive in any way. ThePhiladelphia Negroemerges as a classic study in urban sociology and empirical sociology(DuBois, 2013). In this study, the approach of triangulation isemployed to help in the provision of detailed analysis of life withinthe Seventh Ward in Philadelphia in the late eighteenth century. Itis worth noting that the author integrated the census data, a surveyof the Seventh ward as well as an ethnographic description for everysocial group in a defined social environment.

Whileknowing the problems that are linked with biases, Du Bois strictlyadhered to carrying out the research within a small area. These smallsections would then provide empirical facts regarding the challengesand problems facing the Negros in Philadelphia (DuBois, 2013). Giventhat Du Bois believed that ignorance was the main reason forprejudice and discrimination, the detailed and well-arranged factsoffered the platform for social reform.

Thisstudy remains one of its own especially during the time when it wasformulated. The reader is exposed to different early formulations ofthe theory of ethnic succession, the functional analysis of the BlackChurch, role of economic reserves in most of the small communitiesand the awareness of the inverse association that is betweenmortality and the social class (DuBois, 2013). The author also hasexposed the reader through the case study that shows the use ofquantitative and qualitative data analysis and the manner in whichboth methods complement each other. Du Bois comes out as primarycharacters in urban sociology and the sociological perspective as heformulates is advanced to another level.


DuBois,W. E. B. (2013).&nbspWEBDuBois on sociology and the black community.University of Chicago Press.