The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line
Many recognize the name W.E.B. Du Bois. A visionary for Civil Rights and a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). But who can ever tell what he actually stood for?
Du Bois was a relative contemporary of Booker T Washington, but was more of an opponent than an ally. Washington often fought for treaties while Du Bois went more for complete victory. An example of this would be the Atlanta Compromise, something Du Bois initially supported alongside the President of the Tuskeegee Institute and later opposed.
See, the Atlanta Compromise would not allow Blacks the right to vote, retaliate against racist actions, nor seek education beyond vocational areas. Du Bois being the first African American to receive a Doctorate degree from Harvard, one can imagine where the concerns would arise. Especially when you consider that when Du Bois earned that degree, Harvard was 249 years old.
An Educated Du Bois began his socially conscious efforts along the way, working in Atlanta and beyond. He was a professor at Wilberforce University. He also wrote The Souls of Black Folks, a collection of essays which opens with the same line as this blog. Oddly enough it seems the issue continues. This work by Du Bois along with his incredibly vocal presence in the conversation on race led to him serving as a co-founder of the NAACP. It also placed him at the forefront of the attempt to ban The Birth of a Nation (1915).
Du Bois further was a part of the Pan-African Congress, involved in the War Efforts of World War I where he believed that Blacks should be trained to lead Blacks, and shifted his stance in the 1930s to one in support of segregation. Du Bois served for nearly 20 years as the editor of The Crisis and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
His impact on any and all Civil Rights movements within the US can be felt and seen. He was the one to suggest the use of Colored, as opposed to Black for the NAACP in order to support a wider range of discriminated populations.
All in all, Du Bois’ life expands across pages and pages. There is too much to tell in one simple blog post. Before you lie a few reasons the name is so widely recognized.
Will you take the time to learn more?