W.E.B. DuBOIS

Writer, Teacher, Civil Rights Spokesman: 1868 - 1963

"Back of the problem of race and color lies a greater problem and that is the fact that so many civilized person's are willing to live in comfort even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance, and disease of the majority of their fellowmen, [and] that to maintain this privilege men have waged war until today war tends to become universal and continuous."

Biography

W.E.B. DuBois recognized that poverty and race were the major problems of the twentieth century.

He said: “To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.” And he helped describe for whites and blacks how divided an African-American can feel in the United States: “One ever feels his twoness ---an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

Born in western Massachusetts, W.E.B. DuBois was educated at Fisk, Harvard and the University of Berlin. A list of his writings covers forty-five pages, but it is The Souls of Black Folk (1903), a collection of essays, sketches and musical paragraphs, that established him as one of the preeminent voices (along with Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr.) in the twentieth-century movement for racial justice and equality. For more than sixty years he brought intelligence, scholarly integrity and moral purpose to an unequaled striving for racial understanding and equality for all races.