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W. E. B. Du Bois

1868–1963

William  Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1869, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Raised primarily by his mother, he was an African American writer, civil rights activist, sociologist, historian, educator, and poet. He received a BA from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and a PhD from Harvard University. 

As a civil rights leader, Du Bois founded both the Niagara Movement in 1905 and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, striving for equality in America for the African American community.

As a trailblazer for sociology, he conducted several social studies on the Black communities of Southeast America under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the late 1890s, introducing the importance of statistical analysis in sociological studies.

His many books include Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (Dover Publications, 1920), an autobiographical collection of essays and poems, and the novels The Quest of the Silver Fleece (Broadway Books, 1911), Dark Princess: A Romance (University Press of Mississippi, 1928), several Atlanta University publications Black Reconstruction in America (1935), Economic Cooperation among Negro Americans (1907), and his most prominent book The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches (1903), among other works. Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, in Ghana. 

W. E. B. Du Bois, courtesy NYPL, Schomburg Center
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