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date: 27 February 2024

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardtfree

(1868–1963)

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardtfree

(1868–1963)
  • Wilma Peebles-WilkinsWilma Peebles-WilkinsBoston University, Emerita

Summary

W. E. B. Du Bois (1882–1973) was a Black scholar, writer, and militant civil rights activist. He actively fought against discrimination in all aspects of American life. He founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and edited The Crisis, the organizational magazine he founded in 1910.

Subjects

  • Biographies

W. E. B. Du Bois was an outstanding Black scholar and militant civil rights activist for five decades. He was born of African, Dutch, and French ancestry in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Du Bois earned two bachelor's degrees, one from Fisk University in 1888 and another from Harvard University in 1890. Prior to earning a doctorate from Harvard University in 1896, he studied at the University of Berlin. Du Bois began a career in university teaching and spent three years as professor in the Department of History and Economics at Atlanta University. He headed the University's Department of Sociology from 1932 to 1944. There, he organized efforts to begin a scientific study of the problems of the Black community. Du Bois promoted higher education for the “talented tenth,” or leadership class, within the Black population. Actively fighting discrimination in all aspects of American life, Du Bois organized the Niagara Movement in 1905. This group was absorbed into the organization of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. Du Bois served on the NAACP Board of Directors from 1910 to 1934 and edited The Crisis, the organizational magazine he founded in 1910. A prolific writer, Du Bois wrote numerous articles and books on Black people in America and Africa. Notable among his works are The Philadelphia Negro, A Social Study (1899), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), and The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois (1968). See also W. E. B. Du Bois, Negro Leader in a Time of Crisis (1959), by Francis L. Broderick.