66 pages 2 hours read

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Important Quotes

Quotation Mark Icon

“The original transgression of this land was not slavery. It was greed, and it could not be contained.”


(Part 1, Page 4)

Within American rhetoric, one often hears slavery referred to as the nation’s “original sin”—the moral error that continues to affect the nation to this day. Jeffers’s reframing of the “original transgression” allows for a broader view of national sins. For example, European colonists and later the US government removed Indigenous Americans from their land and often killed them; framing slavery as the singular “original sin” erases those sins. Identifying greed as the root evil also contextualizes slavery within the developing capitalist economy that fueled a number of other ills, including, ironically, the poverty that drove many white settlers to the US, where they “resurrected this misery and passed it on to the Africans” (5).

Quotation Mark Icon

“The intruders on the land weren’t Englishmen or Scotsmen anymore, because a revolution had been fought. Now they were ‘Americans,’ ‘white’ men […] And now the Coromantee or Igbo or Wolof or Fula were ‘Negroes’ or ‘slaves.’ And now the Creek were ‘Indians.’ And there was the Treaty of Colerain in 1796. The Treaty of Fort Wilkinson in 1802. The Treaty of Washington in 1805, and our land was no longer what the people called it. Now the white men called us ‘Georgia.’”


(Part 1, Page 20)

The American Revolution created a sense of national unity for European-descended Americans, leading them to trade in their former national identifications for the label “American.” This transition is generally considered a positive period in American history. However, in this passage Jeffers highlights that this collapsing of identities was only advantageous for some. While white people got to trade in their disparate nationalities for the labels “American” and “white,” which signified power, Indigenous Americans and enslaved people saw their identifiers erased through carelessness and malice.

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 66 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools