W.E.B Du Bois

An Activist...A Leader

Who was W.E.B. Du Bois?

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. About five months after his birth, the 14th Ammendment was ratified, which made former slaves US citizens, and then two years later, the 15th Ammendment was ratified, which let African Americans the right to vote. Labeled as one of America's first African American to graduate high school at an early age, du Bois had great interest in learning from his youth, eventually being able to attend college at a young age. He had a great interest for learning, and was able to pursue his interest with the encouragement of many of his school teachers who also noticed his fascination. Noted for being a political scientist and an author, his main love was being a civil rights activist, and took this job at the right time when America was trying rebuild their relationships with its citizens.

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." ~ W.E.B. Du Bois

This quote Du Bois has stated mostly defines his role in America because that is how one would reflect about him after reading about the good and the worse that occurred in his life. He had grown up mostly by himself, got himself his own job at a young age, and could not live like a normal teenager and had to grow up early so that he could live. In this quote, Du Bois is saying that though it seems that asking for liberty costs a legend, the cost of everything materialistic such as clothes and jewelry cost much more, and that the act of repression should be eliminated from this world.

Life Influences and Motivations

Frank Hosmer, the principal at Du Bois's high school, played a major role in his successful career building. During his interest in learning, Hosmer encouraged Du Bois to apply for one of the best universities for African Americans back then, Fisk University. Being the first African American to graduate from this high school, Hosmer not only encouraged him, but he also helped him with the application, knowing that this college would be the perfect place for him to continue with his phenomenal education. Hosmer valued Du Bois writing skills and asked him to express his thoughts and opinions through his writing, eventually sending them to newspapers such as the New York Globe. Furthermore, Du Bois had chosen to become an civil rights activist due to his childhood experiences. Living in a small town of Great Barrington which consisted of barely any black Americans, he had quickly noticed the judgement towards the African Americans among the white Americans, frequently avoiding the black Americans in any social events that were supposed to be conducted with all the town members. After Du Bois graduated from Harvard University and set in for teaching economics at Atlanta University, he had decided to conduct a study of the general black American communities, eventually writing two books, first The Philadelphia Negro, and then his renowned book, The Souls of Black Folk, which not only described the hurt feelings the African Americans constantly endured with the racial segregation, but also emphasized the individualistic sense and beauty of the general African American community. As his life career continued to go over the top at being a civil rights activist, he, like any other activist, also fell upon some drawbacks and rivalry, and in his case it was Booker T. Washington. Though Washington also had become a civil rights activist, his strategy on becoming successful at gaining the African American liberty was a whole diverted path from Du Bois's strategy plan. Though they respected each other in the sense that they both had the influence and interest in changing the African American injustice, both their paths were not something that had concluded in a mutual agreement.

The Magic of W.E.B. Du Bois

Du Bois always had a way with his words, clearly knowing how to persuade his audience to agree with him on a decision or opinion. Through his stubborn and rebellious attitude, Du Bois pursued in his goals of positively influencing the African American society, eventually the general public of America, being labeled as one of the most influential leaders among the famous African Americans. His books and articles were harsh towards the white Americans, but it proved to the African American society on the exact definition of social injustice and how getting together and forming rebel groups will help them capture their dream of being able to endure the life long want of being treated like an actual American citizen and not be racially segregated. Du Bois spent a majority of his activist life in two important groups that would further the betterment of attaining an equal stature with the white Americans: NAACP and the Niagara Movement. Du Bois had created the Niagara Movement, named after the location of their first meeting, which was a movement that included teachers, priests, and civil workers who strongly felt the need to rebel against the injustice that was created towards them by the white supremacy. Cofounded by William Trotter, the organization mainly attacked Booker Washington's plan of working hard to achieve the white American stature and accepting that they were being racially segregated. After a few years, the Niagara Movement organization started to fade away, so Du Bois and other influenced black Americans considered cofounding the NAACP, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Eventually becoming the idolized activist in the NAACP, he also wrote agitated articles on Crisis about the injustices most black Americans, even younger children, experienced in America's complex society, later backing down from this prestigious position and continuing his writing and newspaper articles.

Time Period

Knowing how influential his words can be to the general public, I believe that he would be successful in the Renaissance Period because of his great interest in education and being able to express ones thoughts and opinions, being able to show your own beliefs and theories. He would again be influential in this period because his words are so impactful on the people that would some how "magically" convince the audience to agree with his own opinions. Though he did not give many speeches, he wrote very much, and during the Renaissance Period this type of art was very popular.
Matthew Pratt Guterl, the author of "The Irish Rebellion That Resonated in Harlem," emphasizes the importance of the Easter Rising revolt and the views of this revolt through the eyes of influential African American leaders, one of them which includes W.E.B. Du Bois. Through his straightforward commentary, his articles from The Crisis vividly described the main views of the Easter Rising from the general African American society during those days. The Easter Rising incident was when Irish republicans took control of many business buildings, main idea being that the patriots were to resist British control, and the views of this incident is shown of how impactful it was on the civilians, mainly focusing on the black Americans.

Guterl uses various ways in order to portray how much the Easter Rebellion hurt so many people by using tone words that give a sense of how depressing the moment was. He quotes Du Bois from an article he wrote in the Crisis, saying that the slums in Dublin for the white are "more bitter depths of human degradation than the black slums of Charleston and New Orleans..." Though Du Bois had said this, he also felt some something for these people saying that it was very unnecessary and redundant rebellion.

W.E.B. DuBois Speaks! Socialism and the American Negro (Full)
Du Bois, Garvey and Pan Africanism

Book Review Trailer

WEB Du Bois1

Du Bois' American Experience

Du Bois today is known to be a very unique and dedicated African American who followed his thoughts and opinions to the very end. He not only qualified for the positions he kept in the NAACP and Niagara Movement, but he also knew how to influence the people in a way which would completely change his or her thoughts and perspectives of the racial segregation, taking advantage of the decisions the public would have made if he had not persuaded them. He knew that the public would not understand him well enough if had not been so passionate about the subject of racism. His role, exemplary qualities, and capabilities all shadow that epitome of an ideal activist and extraordinary candidate of a historical figure.

Political Cartoon

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This is my political cartoon describing the differences between Booker T. Washington's preferences and Du Bois's preferences. Instead of Using black Americans as my main topic, I portrayed it as if they exist in modern day and are talking about technology. Washington believes that people need to earn the value of technology, while on the other hand, Du Bois absolutely believes that people, all families, should have the right to own some form of technology that will further them in their well being and be able to accomplish more goals and cherish his or her achievements.


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