W.E.B. Du Bois

By Ethan Kart

Background

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, more commonly known as W.E.B. Du Bois, was an acclaimed African American scholar and sociologist who mainly dealt with racial relations between whites and African Americans. He was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. He later became a professor of history, economics, and sociology at Atlanta University. Du Bois believed that society's problems, particularly racial inequality, could be solved with sociology. He also helped found the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights group in America. W.E.B Du Bois used his writings and speeches to fight against racism and discrimination throughout his life, and became one of the most influential African American figures of his time.

10 Facts

  • A leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African Americans fighting for equal rights
  • Believed that intellectually elite African Americans were the key in moving towards obtaining full civil rights
  • Helped organize Pan-African Congresses to free African colonies from European rule
  • Surveyed black American soldiers and documented experiences of racism in U.S. Military
  • Believed capitalism is the primary source of racism
  • Was a peace activist and protested against the use of nuclear weapons
  • Publicly opposed Booker T. Washington's plan of African Americans submitting to segregation in exchange for a basic education
  • Editor of the NAACP's monthly magazine, The Crisis
  • Published Souls of Black Folk in 1903, a collection of essays describing African American experiences
  • Received the World Peace Council Prize in 1952