Du Bois gives us an introduction into the lives of African Americans living in Philadelphia. He focuses on a certain area in Philadelphia called the “Colored People of the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia”. There are approximately 10,000 African Americans living in this area, which is about ¼ the total population of African Americans in the entirety of Philadelphia. The African Americans during this time period were heavily segregated and thus lived in impoverished areas.
Du Bois wished to study the lives of African Americans who have been have been freed from slavery, but in order to do so, he must first learn and understand the hardships and lifestyles of slavery. He believed that by studying the lifestyles of African Americans and their impoverished state, it would lead to further research and development in social reform. He documents his research and outlines important key factors in the African American community such as size, age, sex, family, marriage, education, housing, occupations, churches, etc.
He makes an interesting discovery on African Americans that move away from these impoverished communities to live by themselves or near people of other races. African Americans living in these communities are often employed in undesirable jobs, are paid low wages, and pay higher rents. African Americans that have moved away from these communities are often alone, shunned, looked at, unwanted, etc. and are even more uncomfortable than those living in a poor community.