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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois Essay

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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, born in 1868, was a scholar, activist, and philosopher, born into the era of Reconstruction and lynching. Though he accomplished much in his life, Du Bois is largely known for helping found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and writing one of the most prominent works in American critical race theory, The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois made it his life’s work to contest racism through self-assertion, humanize black people across the globe, and find a way to integrate black society and white American society. Much of his rhetoric focused on “double consciousness” and “the veil,” separate but closely related concepts that Du Bois used to describe the experience of Americans, both black and white. While Du Bois passed away a mere day before the March on Washington in 1963, his rhetoric remains vital to anti-racist philosophy; for today, Americans live in an age of colorblind racism. It is a commonly held amongst white Americans belief that all Americans are treated equally and fairly, often citing the civil rights movements of the 1960’s in which the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 came to be. However, as of 2016, 42% of black Americans are dissatisfied in regards to how they are treated, while a mere 15% of white Americans are dissatisfied with the treatment of black Americans.1 Much of Du Bois’ rhetoric focused on education; more specifically, how to use the role of institutions,
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