W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois: (William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) (dəbois´), 1868–1963, American civil-rights leader and author, b. Great Barrington, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1890; M.A., 1891; Ph.D., 1895). Du Bois was an early exponent of full equality for African Americans and a cofounder (1905) of the Niagara Movement, which became (1909) the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Unlike Booker T. Washington, who believed that unskilled blacks should focus on economic self-betterment, and Marcus Garvey, who advocated a "back to Africa" movement, Du Bois demanded that African Americans should achieve not only economic parity with whites in the United States but full and immediate civil and political equality as well. Also, he introduced the concept of the "talented tenth," a black elite whose duty it was to better the lives of less fortunate African Americans.

From 1897 to 1910, Du Bois taught economics and history at Atlanta Univ. In 1910 he became editor of the influential NAACP magazine, Crisis, a position he held until 1934. That year he resigned over the question of voluntary segregation, which he had come to favor over integration, and returned to Atlanta Univ. (1934–44). His concern for the liberation of blacks throughout the world led him to organize the first (Paris, 1919) of several Pan-African Congresses. In 1945, at the Fifth Congress in Manchester, England, he met with the African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta. In 1961 he became a member of the American Communist party, and shortly thereafter he renounced his American citizenship. In the last two years of his life Du Bois lived in Ghana. His books include The Souls of Black Folks (1903), The Negro (1915), Black Reconstruction in America (1935), Color and Democracy (1945), The World and Africa (1947), and In Battle for Peace: The Story of My 83rd Birthday (1952).


See his autobiography, ed. by H. Aptheker (1968); selected writings, ed. by N. Huggins (1986); correspondence, ed. by H. Aptheker (3 vol., 1973–78); biography by D. L. Lewis (2 vol., 1993–2000); studies by G. Horne (1985), M. Marable (1987, repr. 2005), A. Reed, Jr. (1997), and L. Balfour (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century
W. E. B. Du Bois.
International Publishers, 1968
W.E.B. Du Bois and the Souls of Black Folk
Stephanie J. Shaw.
University of North Carolina Press, 2013
The Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois Reader
W. E. B. Du Bois; Eric J. Sundquist.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Against Racism: Unpublished Essays, Papers, Addresses, 1887-1961
Herbert Aptheker; W. E. B. Du Bois.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1985
Du Bois and His Rivals
Raymond Wolters.
University of Missouri Press, 2002
W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line
Adolph L. Reed Jr.
Oxford University Press, 1999
The Souls of Black Folk: One Hundred Years Later
Dolan Hubbard.
University of Missouri Press, 2003
Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois
Jonathon S. Kahn.
Oxford University Press, 2009
How the Socialism of W. E. B. Du Bois Still Matters: Black Socialism in the Quest of the Silver Fleece-And Beyond
Van Wienen, Mark; Kraft, Julie.
African American Review, Vol. 41, No. 1, Spring 2007
The Souls of White Folk: W.E.B. Du Bois's Critique of White Supremacy and Contributions to Critical White Studies
Rabaka, Reiland.
Ethnic Studies Review, Vol. 29, No. 2, Winter 2006
Tragic Soul-Life: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy
Terrence L. Johnson.
Oxford University Press, 2012
W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pan-Africanism in Liberia, 1919-1924
M'bayo, Tamba E.
The Historian, Vol. 66, No. 1, Spring 2004
Black Leadership
Manning Marable.
Columbia University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "W. E. B. Du Bois and the Politics of Culture," Chap. 5 "The Black Faith of W. E. B. Du Bois," Chap. 6 "The Pan-Africanism of W. E. B. Du Bois," and Chap. 8 "Peace and Black Liberation: The Contributions of W. E. B. Du Bois"
Sanctuary: African Americans and Empire
Nicole A. Waligora-Davis.
Oxford University Press, 2011
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "W. E. B. Du Bois and the World Citizen"
"A Calamity Almost beyond Comprehension": Nazi Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in the Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois
Brackman, Harold.
American Jewish History, Vol. 88, No. 1, March 2000
Washington, Du Bois, and the Black Future: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois Were Pioneers in the Quest for African-American Equality in America. They Were Also Bitter Rivals. What's Sometimes Overlooked Is That Their Years of Public Confrontation Were Preceded by a Decade of Cautious Mutual Regard
Bauerlein, Mark.
The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 4, Autumn 2004
W.E.B. Du Bois: An Encyclopedia
Gerald Horne; Mary Young.
Greenwood Press, 2001
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