Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
W. E. B. Du Bois was an African American intellectual, sociologist, poet, and activist whose fierce commitment to racial equality was the seminal force behind important sociopolitical reforms in the twentieth-century United States.
Although Du Bois may not have the same name recognition as FREDERICK DOUGLASS or MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., he is regarded by most historians as an influential leader. King himself praised Du Bois as an intellectual giant whose "singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people." Reflecting on Du Bois's legacy, playwright Lorraine Hansberry noted that "his ideas have influenced a multitude who do not even know his name."
Born February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, during the Reconstruction period following the U.S. CIVIL WAR, Du Bois was of African, French, and Dutch descent. His tremendous potential was apparent to his fellow townspeople, who raised money in the local churches to send him to Tennessee's Fisk University, a predominantly African American school. Du Bois earned a bachelor of arts degree from Fisk in 1888. He then attended Harvard University, where his professors included George Santayana and WILLIAM JAMES. An outstanding student, Du Bois received three degrees from Harvard: a bachelor's in 1890, a master's in 1891, and a doctor's in 1895....
(The entire section is 1302 words.)
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