Essay on William E.B. Dubois

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William E.B. Dubois William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born in 1868, two years after slavery was abolished, in Great Barrington, MA. Born a free man in the North, during the dawn of the twentieth century, W.E.B. DuBois was able to receive an extensive education. Throughout his life he grew more and more cognizant of the politics, education, religion, and economics that shaped the American system and separated the peoples that lived there. Although he was granted the fortune of education and freedom, he was forever torn between his dark coloring which distinguished him from others. Furthermore, he was disillusioned by his unfulfillment of American ideals.

Establishing an identity for DuBois was extremely complex, and in his classic
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I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads.*214

The veil not only created a color line, but it also granted African Americans a unique insight on life, an insight that understood spirituality in a different sense than that found in Western culture. DuBois managed to establish a medium between his veiled and unveiled worlds, for although he struggled in pursuit of fulfilled manhood, he was able to achieve a successful life.

Education further defined DuBois. In his essay "The Freedom to Learn", he emphasized the importance of knowledge and asserted that "of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled...the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental." He attended Fisk University, with the help of fellow church members, and then went on to Harvard and became the universities first black recipient of a Ph.D. Previously he had studied at the University of Berlin for two years and focused on economics, history, and political science. Education was what created DuBois, a man of great consciousness and hope for the achievement of the African American. Over the span of his lifetime, he worked devotedly in the effort to advance his

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