W.E.B. DuBois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (pronounced /duːˈbɔɪs/ doo-BOYSS) (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, historian, author, and editor. Historian David Levering Lewis wrote, “In the course of his long, turbulent career, W. E. B. Du Bois attempted virtually every possible solution to the problem of twentieth-century racism— scholarship, propaganda, integration, national self-determination, human rights, cultural and economic separatism, politics, international communism, expatriation, third world solidarity.”

University education

In 1888 Du Bois earned a degree from Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee. During the summer following graduation from Fisk, Du Bois managed the Fisk Glee Club. The club was employed at a grand luxury summer resort on Lake Minnetonka in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. The resort was a favorite spot for vacationing wealthy American Southerners and European royalty. In addition to providing entertainment, Du Bois and the other club members worked as waiters and kitchen help at the hotel. The drinking, crude behavior, and sexual promiscuity of the rich white guests at the hotel left a lasting impression on the young Du Bois.

Du Bois entered Harvard College in the fall of 1888, having received a $250 scholarship. He earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard in 1890. In 1892, he received a fellowship from the John F. Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen to attend the University of Berlin for graduate work. While a student in Berlin, he traveled extensively throughout Europe. He came of age intellectually in the German capital, while studying with some of that nation’s most prominent social scientists, including Gustav von Schmoller, Adolph Wagner, and Heinrich von Treitschke.

In 1895, Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. After teaching at Wilberforce University in Ohio, he worked at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught while undertaking field research for his study The Philadelphia Negro. Next he moved to Georgia, where he established the Department of Social Work at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University Whitney M. Young school of Social Work). He also taught at The New School in Greenwich Village, New York City.


An American, a Negro… two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

But what of black women?… I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.

To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.

Works Published:

Du Bois wrote and published more than 4,000 articles, essays, and books over the course of his 95-year life. Most of these are out of print and hard to find even in their original publications. No edition of his complete works has yet been published. In 1977, Paul G. Partington published a bibliography of Du Bois’s published works, titled W. E. B. Du Bois: A Bibliography of His Published Writings. (Whittier, CA: c.1977, 1979 (rev. ed.)) (privately published). ISBN 0960253815. A supplement was published in 1984, titled W. E. B. Du Bois: A Bibliography of His Published Writings—Supplement. (Whittier, CA: c. 1984), 20 pages. The supplement represented Partington’s research in the Du Bois papers owned by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

* Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, with introduction by Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis, 768 pages. (Free Press: 1995, reissued from 1935 original) ISBN 0684856573.
* The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America: 1638–1870 Ph.D. dissertation, 1896, (Harvard Historical Studies, Longmans, Green, and Co.: New York) Full Text
* The Study of the Negro Problems (1898)
* The Philadelphia Negro (1899)
* The Negro in Business (1899)
* The Evolution of Negro Leadership. The Dial, 31 (July 16, 1901).
* The Souls of Black Folk. 1999 [[[1903 in literature|1903]]]. ISBN 0-393-97393-X.
* The Talented Tenth, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903).
* Voice of the Negro II (September 1905)
* John Brown: A Biography (1909)
* Efforts for Social Betterment among Negro Americans (1909)
* Atlanta University’s Studies of the Negro Problem (1897–1910)
* The Quest of the Silver Fleece 1911
* The Negro (1915) (entire text)
* Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil (1920)
* The Gift of Black Folk (1924)
* Dark Princess: A Romance (1928)
* Africa, Its Geography, People and Products (1930)
* Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930)
* Black Reconstruction: An Essay toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 (1935)
* What the Negro Has Done for the United States and Texas (1936)
* Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)
* Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940)
* Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945)
* The Encyclopedia of the Negro (1946)
* The World and Africa (1946)
* Peace Is Dangerous (1951)
* I Take My Stand for Peace (1951)
* In Battle for Peace (1952)
* The Black Flame: A Trilogy
* The Ordeal of Mansart (1957)
* Mansart Builds a School (1959)
* Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960)
* Worlds of Color (1961)
* An ABC of Color: Selections from Over a Half Century of the Writings of W. E. B. Du Bois (1963)
* The World and Africa, an Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1965)
* The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt Du Bois (International publishers, 1968)

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