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On this day in Black History, the Black community lost a great leader. W. E. B. Du Bois died August 27, 1963, at the age of 95. Du Bois was an abolitionist, writer, and overall educator. In order to better understand who Du Bois was and the contributions he made to our community, please enjoy this brief outline of his life.
W. E. B. Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He grew up in a small, predominantly White town. He proudly identified as a mulatto but did not face discrimination from his White teachers and classmates. Du Bois did not experience racism until he attended Fisk University in the Jim Crow South during the 1880s. Despite his exposure to racism and discrimination, he persevered and earned his degree in 1888.
After earning his BA from Fisk University, Du Bois began his graduate studies at Harvard University. He earned his Masters degree in 1891. He wrote his dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870
, in 1895. His dissertation earned him his Ph.D.
Four years after completing his formal education, Du Bois published the results of his social study, titled The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study
. Du Bois’ social study was the first social study of the Black community to ever be conducted. Within his social study, he coined the term talented tenth. According to Du Bois, the talented tenth is the ten percent of Black people who will do great things for their community. Du Bois later wrote a book, titled The Talented Tenth
(1903), which explains the talented tenth in more detail.
Du Bois gained the most notoriety when he openly opposed Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise. Where Du Bois believed that the Black community should be granted access to education, Washington felt that Blacks should focus on learning a trade. Du Bois argued that by preventing Blacks from pursuing an education, the Black community would never truly advance in terms of racial equality.
Du Bois criticized Washington’s method of advancing the Black community. He labeled Washington’s approach an “inferior strategy.” Although many people agreed with Washington–mostly White liberals, as well as members of the Black community–many Black people agreed with Du Bois’ method of improving the Black community.
Du Bois used his platform to educate his community and anyone who would read his work. He wrote his next book in 1903, titled Souls of Black Folk
. His book is comprised of 14 essays that challenge the ideology of White superiority. Many White people who read his book did not like what he had written. Although some Black readers opposed his viewpoint, Du Bois’ loyal following praised his essays.
In 1905, Du Bois founded the Niagara Movement. Several civil rights leaders and activists planned to meet in order to discuss the progress of the Black community. They were denied hotel rooms in Buffalo, New York, hence, the meeting took place at Niagara Falls. In 1910, Du Bois co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He later embraced the teachings of Pan-Africanism.
In his later years, Du Bois began compiling an encyclopedia of the African diaspora. He worked on the book until he could no longer continue. While living in Accra, Ghana, W. E. B. Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 95.
Du Bois Gear
In honor of the contributions that W. E. B. Du Bois made to our community, We Buy Black has several items that we think you need. Here is a list of the top three Du Bois items that are currently selling on We Buy Black.
1. W. E. B. Du Bois Shirt
Although Du Bois impacted the Black community significantly, he is largely unknown. It’s not common to see his face on a T-shirt. Well, here’s a T-shirt commemorating Du Bois. Check out this long-sleeve T-shirt with a semi-silhouette of Du Bois’ face from Madman Threads. Click here
to choose from either gray, light blue, pink, red, or white and celebrate W. E. B. Du Bois on this day in history.
2. John Brown by W. E. B. Du Bois
In 1909, Du Bois published a biography about John Brown. John Brown was an abolitionist whose actions largely contributed to the American Civil War–the war that ultimately brought an end to American slavery. This biography written by Du Bois encapsulates Brown’s life and activism. For only $10.00, you can own a copy of this engaging piece of text. Click here
to visit DTR 360 Books, LLC. and order your copy today.
3. W. E. B. Du Bois Poster
Tri-Seven Entertainment is selling an 18×24-inch poster of W. E. B. Du Bois. This poster is a must-have because it’s not like most other posters. In addition to Du Bois’ picture, there is also a short bio included below his image. If you buy this poster, place it in a frame, and hang it on your wall, it will surely catch people’s attention as they enter your abode. Whether you live in a mansion or a college dorm room, this poster needs to be a part of your decor. Click here
to buy your poster now.