Roots | W.E.B. Du Bois

IRIE™ Magazine | ROOTS - W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois… Facts an’ T’ings

February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, historian, American sociologist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. W. E. B. Du Bois was born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the only child of Alfred Du Bois and Mary Silvina Burghardt. W. E. B. Du Bois was a civil rights activists on a global scale. As a writer and activist, W. E. B. Du Bois fought for freedom and equality for the whole of the African diaspora and for Africans themselves. He led movements and conferences to advance equal rights for blacks in the U.S. and around the world. Du Bois wrote for The Atlantic Monthly and was the editor for the NAACP journal, The Crisis.

IRIE presents some fascinating Facts an ‘Tings about W.E.B. Du Bois.

Facts an’ T’ings

  • In 1895, W.E.B. Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Ph. D from Harvard University.

  • William Du Bois co-founded the Niagara Movement in 1905 to oppose the Atlanta Compromise (1895), an unwritten deal by Booker T. Washington which stated that black Americans should avoid protesting for civic rights so long as they had access to criminal justice and jobs.

    Du Bois opposed Booker T. Washington’s views on racial discrimination. Du Bois insisted on full civil rights with equal treatment, equal economic opportunities and equal educational opportunities.

  • In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois published his most famous work, ‘The Souls of Black Folk’, a philosophical and poetic body of work that reveals how different the African American experience is when you’re living it compared to the way it looks to the rest of society. He opens ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ with the central thesis of much of his life’s work: “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”

  • In 1909, W.E.B. Du Bois co-founded the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), which became an important African-American civil rights organization. It is still active today.

  • In 1961, W.E.B. Du Bois traveled to Ghana (at the age of 93) to work on an encyclopedia of the African diaspora. In 1963, the United States refused to renew his passport.

    W.E.B. Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana in symbolic protest but never renounced his United States citizenship.

  • William Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 95, one day before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.