William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born to Alfred and Mary Silvina Du Bois on February 23rd, 1868 in Great Barrington Massachusetts. While he grew up an African-American in a mostly white community, he attended an integrated school and excelled there. When he was old enough, his neighbors and church raised enough money for him to attend Fisk University in Nashville from 1885 to 1888. Because he had never been south before, this is where he first experienced racial prejudice and Jim Crow laws. After college, he went on to study in Berlin and receive both his masters and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Then, he began his great work in sociology. He published his first study not long after college called The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study, and then started work as a professor at Atlanta University, where he gained acknowledgement for his being very publically opposed to Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise.” When he published The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, he really began his progressive journey. Standing up to white supremacy, speaking for women’s rights, and being a proponent of Pan-Africanism are what occupied the middle and later parts of his life. He even helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. W. E. B. Du Bois died on August 27th, 1963 while self-exiled in Ghana, working on an Encyclopedia Africana. (3) Because Du Bois was practically a lifelong activist and believer in the equality of all
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