W. E. B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois ( ; February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist.

Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community. After completing graduate work at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin and Harvard University, where he was its first African American to earn a doctorate, Du Bois rose to national prominence as a leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of black civil rights activists seeking equal rights. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta Compromise. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He referred to this group as the Talented Tenth, a concept under the umbrella of racial uplift, and believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership.

Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Du Bois used his position in the NAACP to respond to racist incidents. After the First World War, he attended the Pan-African Congresses, embraced socialism and became a professor at Atlanta University. Once the Second World War had ended, he engaged in peace activism and was targeted by the FBI. He spent the last years of his life in Ghana and died in Accra on August 27, 1963.

Du Bois was a prolific author. Du Bois primarily targeted racism in his polemics, which protested strongly against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for the independence of African colonies from European powers. Du Bois made several trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. His collection of essays, ''The Souls of Black Folk'', is a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus, ''Black Reconstruction in America'', challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction era. Borrowing a phrase from Frederick Douglass, he popularized the use of the term color line to represent the injustice of the separate but equal doctrine prevalent in American social and political life. His 1940 autobiography ''Dusk of Dawn'' is regarded in part as one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology. In his role as editor of the NAACP's journal ''The Crisis'', he published many influential pieces. Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism and was sympathetic to socialist causes. Provided by Wikipedia

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