Born February 23, 1868, William Edward Burghardt DuBois in Great Barrington, Massachusettes. DuBois became one of the most successful social activist, scholar and writer of the twentieth century. He descended of African, French, and Dutch lineage, hence his name.
DuBois was one of 25-50 blacks who lived in Great Barrington out of 5,000 whites. So therefore signs of blatant Jim Crow and racism were not made blatant, there was a tone underlying the attitudes of those whom lived there. DuBois' personality became abrupt and sullen as he got older as opposed to cheeful and outgoing as he had been when he was young.
STudying in Europe was a dream of DuBois' and after earning his M.A. in History at Harvard he went on to study at the University of Berlin with some of the great German minds in philosophy and sociology and economics. DuBois returned to the states to become the first man of African descent to receive a Ph.D from Harvard University.
In 1903, he published his first of remembered works The Philadelphia Negro and later the Souls of Black Folks. The latter being his most prophetic and remembered. His essays on race and society and economics were published in such journals as The Independent, Nation, The Southern Workman, Harper's Weekly, World's Work, The Outlook, The Missionary Review, the Literary Digest, the annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the Dial. DuBois plunged himself into anthropological, sociological, historical, economic, and philosophical studies of blacks in America hoping to elude a "cure" for the race problem in America.
He was editor for the Crisis, the official magazine for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancment of Colored People) which he helped to find in 1910. He used his knowledge and position to write many influential articles on blacks in America. Making him extraordinarily popular.
As a representative of the NAACP he went to the Peace Conference after the Armstice was signed at the end of World War I. He organized a Pan African Conference (he wasn't the founder) to discuss the situations of AFricans everywhere, realizing for blacks to be free they must be free everywhere.
Throughout his career, his ideas of "educate and agitate" certainly agitated other black leaders and revolutionaries such as the likes of Marcus Garvey and his Back to Africa Movementor Booker T. Washington founder of Tuskegee Institute. His rivalry with Washington the most famous as Washington produced as many results as he did. His belief was firmly in the idea of "racial uplift" and using agriculture as a way to do that. Washington also was for reconciling with the South and forgetting past discrepancies against blacks when they were once slaves and even after emancipation facing Jim Crow and lynchings for those who did not abide the "seperate but equal" doctrines. DuBois was a firm believer of the "Talented Tenth" of blacks and working toward making them the leaders and educators of the race. As well as forging ahead to make the black race of great repute in America.
And set out to get rid of most of the white members and directors of the NAACP. He continued to challenge imperialism in AFrica. And as the chairman of the Peace Information Center he demanded the outlawing of atomic weapons. The US Department of Justice ordered him to register as a "foreign priniciple" and for refusing was immediately indicted under Foreign Agents Registration Act. He was acquitted. But the damage was done icing further feelings he had toward the present system in America. In China he told an audience he was lecturing "In my country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a NIGGER."
He expatriated to Ghana where he resided til his death. There he became an official member of the Communist Party and a Ghanian citizen.
He died August 27th, 1963 in Accra Ghana, on the eve of the March on Washington.