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See the fact file below for more information on W.E.B Du Bois or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- On February 23, 1868, W.E.B Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He was the son of Alfred and Mary Silvina, both descendants of mixed-race.
- Young William grew up in a European-American community.
- He considered himself a mulatto yet he received education from white teachers.
- In 1885, Du Bois saw the manifestation of Jim Crow laws when he attended Fisk University, in Nashville Tennessee. From there, he began to see racism in America.
- In 1888, he entered Harvard University for his bachelor’s degree and graduated cum laude in 1890.
- Upon earning his bachelor’s degree, he pursued graduate studies in history and economics at the University of Berlin in 1892 under a study-abroad program by the Slater Fund fellowship.
- In 1895, Du Bois became the first African-American to earn a PhD at Harvard University. His dissertation The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, became the leading publication in Harvard Historical Series.
- Decades later, he was awarded with an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt-Universitat, formerly known as Friedrich-Wilhelms Universitat.
- By 1896, he worked as an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and pioneered sociological studies in urban communities. One of his first publications was The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study.
Du Bois’ Beliefs and Activism
- In 1905, Du Bois founded the Niagara Movement, a protest group comprising African-American scholars and professionals. He also created and edited the Moon (1906) and Horizon (1907-10), as organs of the movement.
- In 1909, he became one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as its publicity and research director until 1934.
- In addition, Du Bois was the editor of NAACP’s monthly magazine, The Crisis. It became one of the leading protest magazines that featured young African-American writers.
- With his idea of Pan-Africanism, DuBois attended the First Universal Races Congress in London with black intellectuals from West Indies and Africa. Since then, pan-African congresses were held around the world. A number of resolutions were passed condemning African oppression.
- Du Bois gained his national prominence when he publicly opposed Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise.” While he was working as a professor at Atlanta University, Du Bois believed that Washington was not demanding equality for African-Americans.
- In 1947, Du Bois wrote the famous “Appeal to the World” while serving as a consultant to the UN founding convention. He used his skills in writing to place African-American grievances before the United Nations.
- After a year, he became the co-chairman of the Council of African Affairs. As a socialist, Du Bois attended peace conferences and travelled to China and Russia. By 1961, he joined the Communist Party in the United States.
- In 1961, Ghana’s president, Kwame Nkrumah, requested Du Bois be the director of the Encyclopedia Africana.
Death and Lasting Legacy
- On August 27, 1963, on the eve of the March on Washington, Du Bois died in Accra, Ghana, at the age of 95.
- He was regarded as a proponent of modern pan-Africanism. Moreover, Du Bois was credited with organizing congresses aiming to free African colonies from European rule.
- Some of his most significant works include 21 books and over 100 published essays and articles. Furthermore, he edited and co-edited annual publications such as the The Negro
- Business, The Negro Artisan, The Negro Church, Economic Cooperation among Negro Americans, and The Negro American Family.
- In 1911 and 1928, he wrote the novels The Quest of the Silver Fleece and Dark Princess: A Romance.
- In 1935, he published Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880, which became one of his most significant works yet was highly criticized because of the Marxist concepts used to attack American historiography.
- In 1951, he was awarded with the Lenin Peace Prize by the USSR.
W.E.B Du Bois Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use W.E.B Du Bois worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B” Du Bois who was a prominent civil rights activist, journalist and sociologist who co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- W.E.B Du Bois Facts
- Biography: A Scholar’s Life
- The Missing Link
- Person Puzzles
- Du Bois v. Washington
- Years of Du Bois
- Towards Pan-Africanism
- The Souls of Black Folk
- Quotable Lines
- Visual Diary
- Write Like Du Bois
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