William Edward Burghardt Du Bois is Born
History cannot ignore W.E.B. DuBois because history has to reflect truth and Dr. DuBois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves with honest study of the black man and he sought to fill this immense void. The degree to which he succeeded disclosed the great dimensions of the man.”— Martin Luther King Jr.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, historian, author, and editor. Historian David Levering Lewis wrote, "In the course of his long, turbulent career, W. E. B. Du Bois attempted virtually every possible solution to the problem of twentieth-century racism— scholarship, propaganda, integration, national self-determination, human rights, cultural and economic separatism, politics, international communism, expatriation, third world solidarity."
The first African-American graduate of Harvard University, where he earned his Ph.D in History, Du Bois later became a professor of history and economics at Atlanta University. He became the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910, becoming founder and editor of the NAACP's journal The Crisis. Du Bois rose to national attention in his opposition of Booker T. Washington's ideas of social integration between whites and blacks, campaigning instead for increased political representation for blacks in order to guarantee civil rights, and the formation of a Black elite that would work for the progress of the African American race. He died in 1963.
William Edward Burghardt DuBois, to his admirers, was by spirited devotion and scholarly dedication, an attacker of injustice and a defender of freedom.
A harbinger of Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism, he died in self-imposed exile in his home away from home with his ancestors of a glorious past—Africa.
Labeled as a "radical," he was ignored by those who hoped that his massive contributions would be buried along side of him.