W. E. B. Du Bois Facts

W. E. B. Du Bois Facts
W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, historian and author who was the first African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard. He was born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to Alfred and Mary Silvina Du Bois. As a child William attended an integrated school where his teachers encouraged him to follow intellectual pursuits. He graduated from high school and his childhood church raised the money for his college tuition. He attended Fisk University from 1885 to 1888 and then Harvard, where he earned his second bachelor's degree. In 1891 he was granted a scholarship to Harvard's graduate school. In 1895 he became the first African American to earn a Ph. D from Harvard.
Interesting W. E. B. Du Bois Facts:
William Du Bois was an only child. His mother was from a family that was one of the few free African American families in Great Barrington. They also owned land in the state of Massachusetts.
William Du Bois' father had served in the American Civil War.
William's father married his mother in 1867 but abandoned the family when William was only two years old.
As a child William attended school with white children and was treated well.
While attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, William encountered Jim Crow laws for the first time. Jim Crow laws required the separation of whites and African Americans. Bigotry, the suppression of voting by African Americans and lynching were common as a result of these laws.
After earning his second bachelors at Harvard (the first was at Fisk), William earned a fellowship to Germany's University of Berlin.
William Du Bois became well known in the early 1900s as a speaker for African American rights.
William Du Bois clashed with Booker T. Washington who was the most influential black leader at the time. Booker made deals to have Southern blacks submit to discrimination and segregation in exchange for basic rights such as education. William believed they should not agree to this and should fight for equal rights.
William Du Bois co-founded the Niagara Movement in 1905 to oppose the Atlanta Compromise - which was Booker's deal.
In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt dishonorably discharged 167 black soldiers. In September the Atlanta race riot broke out. 25 people died. William Du Bois' vision began to gain ground.
William Du Bois co-founded the NAACP in 1909. This became an important African-American civil rights organization and is still in place and active today.
In 1951 William Du Bois was tried for his beliefs that capitalism was responsible for racism and poverty - leading to the accusation that he was an agent for a foreign state.
Albert Einstein offered to appear in court on behalf of William Du Bois but the potential for such great publicity caused the judge to acquit Du Bois and drop the case.
Du Bois eventually left the U.S. in 1963 and became a citizen of Ghana, due to harassment by the U.S. government.
William Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 95. The next day Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous 'I have a dream' speech.


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