W.E.B. Du Bois

Early Career | NAACP | Conflict between Du Bois and Washington. | Historical Significance | Bibliography W.E.B Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on February 23,1868. Then he died on August 27,1963. Du Bois was the first African American to get a Ph.D at Harvard in 1895. He did post graduate work at the University Of Berlin. He was a leading opponent of Booker T. Washington. He helped find the Niagara Movement in 1905. Also he participated and played a huge roll in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. He turned radical out of frustration with the civil rights movement's slow pace. Du Bois joined Communist Party in1957 then reannounced citizenship and moved to Ghana in 1960. He became the editor of a magazine called "The Crisis"[1] . W.E.B Du Bois was not one to sit back and let people walk all over him. He stood up for what he believed in and never gave up.

Early Career

Du Bois Posing!

Du Bois had done so much in his lifetime. He graduated in 1888 from Fisk University a black
instiution in Tennessee. Then recieved a Ph.D from Harvard University in 1895. Du Bois believed social science could solve racial problems. He then eventually clashed with one of the strongest black leaders Booker T. Washington. Washington believed blacks needed to accept racism and go on about their life then eventually they will win respect from whites. Two years later after that clash Du Bois took the lead of the Niagra Movement which was dedicated to attack Booker T. Washington then eventually the movement got weakened because of Washington's position.

In 1909 Du Bois came up with the NAACP and became editor of a magazine called "The Crisis."[2] In 1913 he protested introduction of segragation into the federal government. Two years later Du Bois also protested against the film called "Birth Of A Nation" because the sterotyping in the movie.[3] Du bois attended and did many things to stand up for what he believed in. Most importantly the NAACP was the best thing Du Bois attended in.


Du Bois at the NAACP

DU Bois, the first black recipient of a history degree from Harvord University, was a constant voice for equality even though the white majority in America was not willing to accept such radical thought at the turn of the 20th century. He felt the slow conversation to equality was only "accomodating" the black community. For these reasons, and others, he was selected to become the director of publicity and research for the NAACP. He first targeted inequality in education.

A series of court decisions, some going as high as the Suprere court resulted in full equality by the 1950's. Du Bois believed in the development of cultural nationalism that would develop a separate black "group economy" to fight economic discrimination and black poverty. This stance lead to disagreement in the NAACP and led to his resignation because of his believe that the organization only promoted the interest of the black leaders and ignored the problems of the average black citezen.

Conflict between Du Bois and Washington.
A magazine Du Bois edited called "The Crisis"

Controversy between Du Bois and Washington began in 1895 when Booker Washington gave his speech called the "Atlantic Compromise". From his speech till 1910 Washington was the most powerful black man in America. For anything that involved blacks like jobs,grants,etc. it all had to go through Washington and get his approval and he rejected it. [4] .

Throughout Du Bois and Washingtons career they always believed different things. Washington believed African Americans needed to accept racism and go about their business and eventually they would gain respect from whites. Du Bois believed the opposite completely, he believed that blacks needed to stand up for themselves and get their rights they had worked so hard for.[5] [6]

Historical Significance

The 1920 were a time of dramatic change in the United States. Du Bois was the type of person who's personality and determination that caused change to happen. In many ways Du Bois and the people and associations he was involved with made change happen to the extent that others may not have been able to accomplish the same.


  1. ^ Purvis, Thomas. Dictionary Of American History. Blackwells History Dictionaries. Jan 27,2012
  2. ^ W.E.B Du Bois Biography, A+E Telivison Networks Jan 27 2012
  3. ^ Wineburg, Sam. The American Anthem. New York. Harcourt education, Jan 27. 2012.
  4. ^ Hynes, Gerald. A Biographical sketch of W.E.B Du Boise February 1,2012
  5. ^ W.E.B Du Bois,National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Mar 2, 2008
  6. ^ W.E.B Du Bois Biography, A+E Telivison Networks Jan 27 2012