W. E. B. Du Bois Additional Biography


(Poetry for Students)

Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington, to a family whose ancestry was French Huguenot...

(The entire section is 1096 words.)


(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, into a large white community in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The racism...

(The entire section is 469 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (dyew-BOYS) was a thinker, writer, editor, teacher, and activist. Among his many distinctions, he was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and his ninety-five years saw the United States change from a land of small towns and farms to a nation of cities and industry. He was called many things—visionary, propagandist, scholar, communist, prophet, atheist. Each label held some truth.

Three years after the Civil War ended, W. E. B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a town of approximately four thousand people with a scattering of African American families. His...

(The entire section is 1046 words.)


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

W. E. B. Du Bois was a towering intellectual who created a new language of protest and ideas to understand and guide the African American experience. He wrote fiction and nonfiction, infusing his writings with eloquence and anger. He envisioned a world with equality for all people, emphasizing social justice for Africans and their descendants throughout the New World.

Du Bois’ chronicle of his childhood begins with a tale of small-town conventionality in rural Massachusetts, where he experienced a loving home. In 1888, he entered Fisk University and saw firsthand the “color line” dividing the South. After graduating from Fisk, he returned to Massachusetts, where he earned a doctorate in history at Harvard.


(The entire section is 462 words.)


(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Author Profile

After a successful early career as a publishing scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois recognized that the resolution of American racial problems could not be accomplished solely by revealing the truth; therefore, he became an activist. His famous statement, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” demonstrates the focus of his ethical inquiries. Well-read in history, Du Bois argued that the premature end of Reconstruction left not only practical problems but also ethical ones. He believed that it was unethical for America to blame the freed slaves for the vices that had been instilled in them during generations of enslavement. Slavery, followed by a system of strict racial...

(The entire section is 597 words.)