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Du Bois, W. E. B. (1868–1963)

Michael Zeitler


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Sociologist, historian, philosopher, educator, novelist, critic, editor, civil rights activist, and organizer for over half a century, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was among the most powerful voices in the international struggle for freedom, social justice, and equality. As a scholar, Du Bois challenged the accepted historical accounts of the Atlantic slave trade and Reconstruction and was the first to apply modern sociological theory to the problems of urban African Americans. As an educator, he advocated what would later become black and Africana studies. As a critic, editor, and novelist, he helped to define a black aesthetic and usher in the Harlem Renaissance . As an activist and organizer, he played a key role in the Niagara Movement, which in 1909 led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As editor of the NAACP's journal, The Crisis , for a quarter of a century, he used that venue to speak out against lynching, discrimination, and segregation in the United States and western colonialism in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Disillusioned with the prospect of achieving full racial equality in the United States, Du Bois became a naturalized citizen of Ghana before his death in 1963, at the age of 95. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on February 23, 1868. He faced relatively little discrimination ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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