W.E.B. Du Bois

The Early Civil Rights Movement

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Life and Accomplishment

W.E.B. Du Bois was an American Sociologist and Civil Rights Activist born in Massachusetts in 1868. He became the first African American to receive a Doctorate after graduating from Harvard. He went on to pursue a carrier in education, being a professor of history, sociology, and economics, at Atlanta University. He also co-founded the National Association For The Advacement of Colored People, or the NAACP. In 1909. Du Bois felt that African Americans should receive full civil equality to that of American Caucasians, this very progressive view conflicted with more moderate views of civil rights pursuit, such as that of Booker T. Washington.

Experiences and Major Accomplishments

Du Bois accomplished many things in his pursuit for civil equality. Du Bois wrote and had published many works of literature, in one of his more prominent works he published 14 of his Essays on the genius and humanity of the "black race". Many historians or authors of literature pertaining to the civil rights movements of African Americans have compared the importance of Du Bois' essays to that of landmark pieces like "uncle Tomas's cabin".

In 1892, Du Bois received a fellowship to attend the University of Berlin for graduate work. During his stay in Berlin, Du Bois enjoyed extensive travel throughout Europe. Du Bois studied extensively with many of Germany's greatest social scientists, to later become a graduate of Harvard University, and the first African American to receive a Ph.D and be granted the title of "Doctor".

Du Bois and a group of other African American a Civil Rights Activists formed the Niagara Movement in 1905. The group first organized a meeting near Niagara Falls in Canada, there the group composed a declaration of principles, which opposed the Atlanta compromise. Due to media sympathy with Washington, Du Bois took it upon himself to acquire a printing press and began to self-distribute the "Moon Illustrated Weekly" which was used a a way for Du Bois to attackWashington's position on civil rights, the magazine also doubled as the very first African American weekly magazine. The magazine, however, only lasted about eight months before dissolving.


Du Bois and His Legacy

W.E.B. Du Bois was a very philosophical man, his ideas on racial equality, very extreme and revolutionary at the time, would be the foundation of later ideas and movements for civil equality. Du Bois is quoted as saying the following:

-"The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?"

-"A little less complaint and whining, and a little ore dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills."

-"To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars ins the very bottom of hardships."



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