W.E.B. Du Bois is often seen as the father of Pan-Africanism. This honor is bestowed upon him because of his central role in organizing five Pan-African Congresses and sustaining the movement for over a quarter century, from 1919 to 1945. However, Pan-African thinking and initiatives began soon after the start of the Atlantic slave trade. Du Bois' efforts to institutionalize and broaden the reach of the movement were a further manifestation of the vision and action of men like Edward Blyden, Martin Delaney, Alexander Crummell, Henry Sylvester Williams, and Bishop Henry Turner.
Through his involvement in the movement, Du Bois served many roles: committee chair, secretary, coordinator, and international president. At the 1900 Pan-African Conference, organized by Williams, Du Bois was the chair for the “Address to the Nations of the World” Committee. He was also elected as the U.S. vice president to the Pan-African Association, which was founded at this meeting. However, he never used this position to further the cause of the organization within the United States, nor did he mention his position in the organization in his writings. For Du Bois, “This meeting had no deep roots in Africa” (Du Bois, World and Africa 8). Yet Williams' 1900 conference had about the same degree of affiliation with Africa as Du Bois' 1919 Congress. So it is not clear why Du Bois said this. He later said that the Pan-Africanist movement died until the 1919 Congress in Paris. This is almost true, although Williams and Bishop Walters did attempt to institutionalize the movement by establishing headquarters for the Pan-African Association in London and the West Indies and by publishing the short-lived journal The Pan African.
Du Bois saw himself as a scientist. In part, his involvement in PanAfricanism developed out of his desire to study scientifically and document the experiences of Africans in North America. In fact, Du Bois' attendance at