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Photo Credit: Instagram@979TheBox

Photo Credit: Instagram@979TheBox

Today’s Black History Month spotlight is WEB DuBois William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, better known as W.E.B. Du Bois, was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. While growing up in a mostly European American town, W.E.B. Du Bois identified himself as “mulatto,” but freely attended school with whites and was enthusiastically supported in his academic studies by his white teachers. In 1885, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Fisk University. It was there that he first encountered Jim Crow laws. For the first time, he began analyzing the deep troubles of American racism. Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895, and went on to enroll as a doctoral student at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (now Humboldt-Universität). (He would be awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt decades later, in 1958.) In 1903, Du Bois published his seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of 14 essays. In the years following, he adamantly opposed the idea of biological white superiority and vocally supported women’s rights. In 1909, he co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served as editor of its monthly magazine, The Crisis. A proponent of Pan-Africanism, Du Bois helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to free African colonies from European powers. W.E.B. Du Bois died on August 27, 1963—one day before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington—at the age of 95, in Accra, Ghana, while working on an encyclopedia of the African Diaspora.

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