W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt) Dubois
was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington,
Massachusetts. He was one of the most influential
black leaders of the first half of the 20th Century.
Dubois shared in the founding of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or
NAACP, in 1909. He served as its director of research
and editor of its magazine,
"Crisis," until 1934.
Dubois was the first
African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard
University in 1896. Between 1897 and 1914 Dubois
conducted numerous studies of black society in America,
publishing 16 research
papers. He began his investigations believing that social
science could provide answers to race problems. Gradually
he concluded that in a climate of virulent racism, social
change could only be accomplished by agitation and
At the turn of the century
Dubois had been a supporter of black capitalism.
Throughout his career he moved steadily to the political
left. By 1905 he had been drawn to socialist ideas and
remained sympathetic to Marxism throughout his life.
Dubois acted in support of integration and equal rights
for everyone regardless of race, but his thinking
often exhibited a degree of black separatist-nationalist
tendencies. In 1961 Dubois became completely disillusioned
with the United States. He moved to Ghana, joined
the Communist Party, and a year later renounced his
August 27, 1963, on the eve
of the March On Washington, Dubois died in Accra, Ghana,
shortly after becoming a Ghanan citizen.