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W.E.B. DuBois -
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W.E.B. DuBois

W.E.B. DuBois

W.E.B. DuBois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (pronounced /duːˈbɔɪz/[1]) (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was a black civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. He became a naturalized citizen of Ghana in 1963 at the age of 95.[2] David Levering Lewis, a biographer, wrote, "In the course of his long, turbulent career, W. E. B. Du Bois attempted virtually every possible solution to the problem of twentieth-century racism — scholarship Read more on
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (pronounced /duːˈbɔɪz/[1]) (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was a black civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. He became a naturalized citizen of Ghana in 1963 at the age of 95.[2] David Levering Lewis, a biographer, wrote, "In the course of his long, turbulent career, W. E. B.

Du Bois attempted virtually every possible solution to the problem of twentieth-century racism — scholarship, propaganda, integration, national self-determination, human rights, cultural and economic separatism, politics, international communism, expatriation, third world solidarity."[3] Contents Early life Family history W. E. B. Du Bois was born on Church Street on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, at the south-western edge of Massachusetts, to Alfred Du Bois and Mary Silvina Burghardt Du Bois, whose February 5, 1867, wedding had been announced in the Berkshire Courier.

Alfred Du Bois had been born in Haiti.[4] W. E. B. Du Bois detailed his French Haitian background in his autobiography: Of grandfather's life in Haiti from about 1821 to 1830, I know few details.

From his 18th to his 27th year he formed acquaintanceships, earned a living, married and had a son, my father, Alfred, born in 1825. I do not know what work grandfather did, but probably he ran a plantation and engaged in the growing shipping trade to the United States. Who he married I do not know, nor her relatives. He may have married into the family of Elie Du Bois, the great Haitian educator.

Also why he left Haiti in 1830 is not clear. It may have been because of the threat of war with France during the Revolution of 1830 and the fall of Charles X.[5] Their son was born 5 months before the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, and added to the U.S. Constitution. Alfred Du Bois was descended from free people of color, including the slave-holding Dr.

James Du Bois of Poughkeepsie, New York, a physician. In the Bahamas, James Du Bois had fathered three sons, including Alfred, and a daughter, by his slave mistress. Du Bois was also the great-grandson of Elizabeth Freeman (“Mum Bett”), a slave who successfully sued for her freedom, laying the groundwork for the eventual abolition of slavery in Massachusetts.[6] Childhood Du Bois was born free and did not have contact with his biological father. He blamed his maternal grandparents for his father’s leaving because they did not take kindly to him.

Du Bois was very close to his mother Mary, who was from Massachusetts. Du Bois moved frequently when he was young, after Mary suffered a stroke which left her unable to work. They survived on money from family members and Du Bois' after-school jobs. Du Bois wanted to help his mother as much as possible and believed he could improve their lives through education.

Some of the neighborhood whites noticed him, and one allowed Du Bois and his mother to rent a house from him in Great Barrington. While living there, Du Bois performed chores and worked odd jobs. Du Bois did not feel differently because of his skin color while he was in school. In fact, the only times he felt out of place were when out-of-towners would visit Great Barrington. One such incident occurred when a white girl who was new in school refused to take one of his fake calling cards during a game, the girl told him she would not accept it because he was black.

He then realized that there would always be some kind of barrier between whites and others.[7] Young Du Bois may have been an outsider because of his status, being poor, not having a father and being extremely intellectual for his age; however, he was very comfortable academically. Many around him recognized his intelligence and encouraged him to further his education with college preparatory courses while in high school. This academic confidence led him to believe that he could use his knowledge to empower African Americans.[8] University education Du Bois was awarded a degree from Fisk University in 1888. During the summer following graduation from Fisk, Du Bois managed the Fisk Glee Club.

The club was employed at a grand luxury summer resort on Lake Minnetonka in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. The resort was a favorite spot for vacationing wealthy American Southerners and European royalty. Du Bois and the other club members doubled as waiters and kitchen workers at the hotel.[9] Observing the drinking, rude and crude behavior and sexual promiscuity of the rich white guests of the hotel left a deep impression on the young Du Bois.[10] Du Bois entered Harvard College in the fall of 1888, having received a $250 scholarship. He earned a bachelor's degree cum laude from Harvard in 1890.

In 1892, received a stipend to attend the University of Berlin. While a student in Berlin, he travelled extensively throughout Europe, and came of age intellectually while studying with some of the most prominent social scientists in the German capital, such as Gustav von Schmoller. In 1895, Du Bois became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

After teaching at Wilberforce University in Ohio and the University of Pennsylvania, he established the department of sociology at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Writing Du Bois wrote many books, including three major autobiographies. Among his most significant works are The Philadelphia Negro (1899), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), John Brown (1909), Black Reconstruction (1935), and Black Folk, Then and Now (1939). His book The Negro (1915) influenced the work of several pioneer Africanist scholars, such as Drusilla Dunjee Houston and William Leo Hansberry.[11][12] In 1940, at Atlanta University, Du Bois founded Phylon magazine. In 1946, he wrote The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into the Part that Africa has Played in World History.

In 1945, he helped organize the historic Fifth Pan-African Conference in Manchester, England.[13] While prominent white voices denied African American cultural, political and social relevance to American history and civic life, in his epic work, Reconstruction Du Bois documented how black people were central figures in the American Civil War and Reconstruction. He demonstrated the ways Black emancipation—the crux of Reconstruction—promoted a radical restructuring of United States society, as well as how and why the country turned its back on human rights for African Americans in the aftermath of Reconstruction.[14] This theme was taken up later and expanded by Eric Foner and Leon F. Litwack, the two leading contemporary scholars of the Reconstruction era. In total, Du Bois wrote 22 books, including five novels, and helped establish four journals. Criminology Du Bois began writing about crime in 1897, shortly after receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard (Zuckerman, 2004, p.

2). His first work involving crime, A Program of Social Reform, was shortly followed by a second, The Study of the Negro Problems (Du Bois, 1897; Du Bois, 1898). The first work that involved in depth criminological study and theorizing was The Philadelphia Negro, in which a large section was devoted to analysis of the black criminal population in Philadelphia (Du Bois, 1899). Du Bois (1899) sets forth three significant parts to his criminological theory. The first major part is that Negro crime is caused by the strain of the ‘social revolution’ experienced by black Americans as they began to adapt to their new found freedom and position in the nation.

This theory is very similar to Durkheim’s (1893) Anomie theory, but applied specifically to the newly freed Negro. Du Bois (1900a, p. 3) credits Emancipation with causing the boom in crime in the black population. He explains "the appearance of crime among the southern Negroes is a symptom of wrong social conditions- of a stress of life greater than a large part of the community can bear" (Du Bois, 1901b, p.

745). He distinguishes between the strains on southern Negroes and those on northern Negroes because the problems of city life in the North were very different from those of the Southern rural sharecropper. Du Bois’ (1904a) theory’s second major part is that black crime declined as the African American population moved towards a more equal status. This idea, referred to later as "stratification," is strikingly similar to Merton’s (1968) structure-strain theory of deviance. In The Philadelphia Negro and later statistical studies, Du Bois found direct correlations between levels of employment, education, and criminal activity. The final part of the theory is that the Talented Tenth or the "exceptional men" of the black race would be the ones to lead the race and save it from its criminal problems (Du Bois, 1903, p.

33). Du Bois sees the evolution of a class system within black American society as necessary to carry out the improvements necessary to reduce crime in the black population (Du Bois, 1903). He sets forth a number of solutions to crime that this Talented Tenth must endeavor to enact (Du Bois, 1903, p. 2). He is perhaps the first criminologist to combine historical fact with social change, and used the combination to postulate his theories.

He credited the crime increase after the Civil War to the "increased complexity of life," competition for jobs in industry, and the mass exodus from the farmland and immigration to the cities (Du Bois, 1899). Du Bois (1899, p. 64) states in The Philadelphia Negro: "Naturally then, if men are suddenly transported from one environment to another, the result is lack of harmony with the new conditions; lack of harmony with the new physical surroundings leading to disease and death or modification of physique; lack of harmony with social surroundings leading to crime." Civil rights activism W. E.

B. Du Bois in 1904 Du Bois was the most prominent intellectual leader and political activist on behalf of African Americans in the first half of the twentieth century. A contemporary of Booker T. Washington, the two carried on a dialogue about segregation and political disenfranchisement.

He was labeled "The Father of Pan-Africanism." African American topics African American history Atlantic slave trade · Maafa Slavery in the United States African American military history Jim Crow laws · Redlining Civil Rights: 1896–1954 1955–1968 Afrocentrism · Reparations African American culture African American studies Contemporary issues · Neighborhoods Black Colleges · Kwanzaa · Art Museums · Dance · Literature · Music Religion Black church · Black liberation theology Black theology · Doctrine of Father Divine Nation of Islam · Black Hebrew Israelites Vodou · Hoodoo · Santería Political movements Pan-Africanism · Nationalism · Black power Capitalism · Conservatism · Populism Leftism · Black Panther Party · Garveyism Civic and economic groups NAACP · SCLC · CORE · SNCC · NUL Rights groups · ASALH · UNCF NBCC · NPHC · The Links · NCNW Sports Negro Leagues CIAA · SIAC · MEAC · SWAC Languages English · Gullah · Creole African American Vernacular Lists African Americans African American firsts Landmark legislation Related topics Category · Portal This box: view • talk • edit In 1905, Du Bois along with Minnesota attorney Fredrick L. McGhee[15] and others helped to found the Niagara Movement with William Monroe Trotter. The Movement championed, among other things, freedom of speech and criticism, the recognition of the highest and best human training as the monopoly of no caste or race, full male suffrage, a belief in the dignity of labor, and a united effort to realize such ideals under sound leadership. The alliance between Du Bois and Trotter was, however, short-lived, as they had a dispute over whether or not white people should be included in the organization and in the struggle for Civil Rights. Du Bois felt that they should, and with a group of like-minded supporters, he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. In 1910, he left his teaching post at Atlanta University to work as publications director at the NAACP full-time.

He wrote weekly columns in many newspapers, including the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier and the New York Amsterdam News, three African-American newspapers, and also the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle. For 25 years, Du Bois worked as Editor-in-Chief of the NAACP publication, The Crisis, which then included the subtitle A Record of the Darker Races. He commented freely and widely on current events and set the agenda for the fledgling NAACP. Its circulation soared from 1,000 in 1910 to more than 100,000 by 1920.[16] W. E.

B. Du Bois and Mary White Ovington, co-founders of NAACP Du Bois published Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer. As a repository of black thought, the Crisis was initially a monopoly, David Levering Lewis observed. In 1913, Du Bois wrote The Star of Ethiopia, a historical pageant, to promote African-American history and civil rights. Du Bois thought blacks should seek higher education, preferably liberal arts.

Du Bois believed blacks should challenge and question whites on all grounds, but Washington believed assimilating and fitting into the "American" culture is the best way for Blacks to move up in society. While Washington states that he didn't receive any racist insults until later on his years, Du Bois said Blacks have a "Double-Conscious" mind in which they have to know when to act "White" and when to act "Black". Booker T. Washington felt that teaching was a duty but Du Bois felt it was a calling. Du Bois became increasingly estranged from Walter Francis White, the executive secretary of the NAACP, and began to question the organization's opposition to racial segregation at all costs.

Du Bois thought that this policy, while generally sound, undermined those black institutions that did exist, which Du Bois thought should be defended and improved, rather than attacked as inferior. Du Bois seated with college members of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Howard University in 1932. By the 1930s, Lewis said, the NAACP had become more institutional and Du Bois, increasingly radical, sometimes at odds with leaders such as Walter White and Roy Wilkins. In 1934, after writing two essays in the Crisis suggesting that black separatism could be a useful economic strategy, Du Bois left the magazine to return to teaching at Atlanta University. During the 1920s Du Bois engaged in a bitter feud with Marcus Garvey. One of the key points of disagreement was whether African-Americans could ever be assimilated as equals into American society (the view held by Du Bois) or whether African-Americans would always be treated as second-class citizens (Garvey's position). Their dispute was bitter and it descended to personal attacks, sometimes based on skin color.

Du Bois wrote that "Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor."[17] Garvey described Du Bois as "purely and simply a white man's nigger" and "a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro ... a mulatto ... a monstrosity."[18] Du Bois was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, a fraternity with a civil rights focus, and the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. American Historical Association In 1909, W.

E. B. Du Bois addressed the American Historical Association (AHA). According to David Levering Lewis, "His would be the first and last appearance of an African American on the program until 1940."[19] In a review of the second book in Lewis's biographies of Du Bois, Michael R.

Winston observed that, in understanding American history, one must question "how black Americans developed the psychological stamina and collective social capacity to cope with the sophisticated system of racial domination that white Americans had anchored deeply in law and custom."[20] Winston continued, "Although any reasonable answer is extraordinarily complex, no adequate one can ignore the man (Du Bois) whose genius was for 70 years at the intellectual epicenter of the struggle to destroy white supremacy as public policy and social fact in the United States."[21] Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany Du Bois became impressed by the growing strength of Imperial Japan following the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Du Bois saw the victory of Japan over Tsarist Russia as an example of "colored pride". After traveling to the United States to speak with University students at Howard University, Scripps College and Tuskegee University, Hikida became closely involved in shaping Du Bois' opinions of Imperial Japan. In 1936, Hikida and the Japanese Ambassador arranged a junket for Du Bois and a small group of fellow academics. The trip included stops in Japan, China, and the Soviet Union, although the Soviet leg was canceled because Du Bois' diplomatic contact, Karl Radek, had been swept up in Stalin's purges.

While on the Chinese leg of the trip, Du Bois commented that the source of Chinese-Japanese enmity was China's "submission to white aggression and Japan's resistance", and he asked the Chinese people to welcome the Japanese as liberators. Du Bois joined a large group of African American academics that cited the Mukden Incident to justify Japan's occupation and annexation of the formerly European held southern Manchuria. During 1936 Du Bois also visited Nazi Germany. He later noted that he received more respect from German academics than he had from white colleagues at American universities. On his return to the United States, he voiced his ambivalence toward the regime.

He expressed his admiration for the manner in which the Nazis had improved the German economy but also his horror at their treatment of the Jews, which he described as "an attack on civilization, comparable only to such horrors as the Spanish Inquisition and the African slave trade".[22] Du Bois was an ardent supporter of Zionism. [23] On scientific racism and eugenics The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page.(January 2008) Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. Du Bois was an outspoken opponent of the scientific racism of his day.[24] Along with cultural anthropologist Franz Boas, Du Bois argued extensively against the then prevalent notion that African-Americans were biologically inferior to whites. Du Bois issued his critiques in the pages of Crisis magazine, and in head-to head debates with advocates of a biological basis for white superiority.[25][26][27][28][29] Although fervently opposed to scientific justifications for racism, including opposition to the eugenics experiments at Cold Spring Harbor, Du Bois did appeal to some of the eugenic notions of his day with regards to his message of uplift for African-Americans, including an advocacy of the use of birth control to further the breeding of what he saw (following his notion of a "talented tenth") as the most gifted members of the African-American race. This notion has been described as elitist rather than racist.[30][31] In 1904, Du Bois argued that "the Negro races are from every physical standpoint full and normally developed men [who] show absolutely no variation from the European type sufficient to base any theory of essential human difference upon."[32] Writing in 1910, Du Bois challenged the eugenicist notions of superior races and deleterious effects of racial mixing and lent his support to intermarriage, while upholding the idea that gradations existed within all races: “I believe that there are human stocks with whom it is physically unwise to intermarry, but to think that these stocks are all colored or that there are no such white stocks is unscientific and false.”[33] In 1932, Du Bois contributed an essay on birth control to Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review.

In the article, he accepted the conventional eugenic wisdom that “the more intelligent class” exercised birth control, which meant that “the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” He intoned that African Americans “must learn that among human races and groups, as among vegetables, quality and not mere quantity really counts.”[34] Later life Communist Party Du Bois was investigated by the FBI, who claimed in May 1942 that "[h]is writing indicates him to be a socialist," and that he "has been called a Communist and at the same time criticized by the Communist Party."[35] Pan-African topics General Pan-Africanism Socialism Communism Kwanzaa Colonialism Africa Maafa Black people African philosophy Black nationalism Black orientalism Afrocentrism Art FESPACO African art PAFF People George Padmore Walter Rodney Patrice Lumumba Thomas Sankara Frantz Fanon Sékou Touré Kwame Nkrumah Marcus Garvey Malcolm X W. E. B. Du Bois C.

L. R. James Cheikh Anta Diop This box: view • talk • edit Du Bois visited Communist China during the Great Leap Forward. Also, in the March 16, 1953 issue of The National Guardian, Du Bois wrote "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Du Bois was chairman of the Peace Information Center at the start of the Korean War.

He was among the signers of the Stockholm Peace Pledge, which opposed the use of nuclear weapons. In 1950, at the age of 82, he ran for the U.S. Senate on the American Labor Party ticket in New York and received 4% of the vote. Although he lost, Du Bois remained committed to the progressive labor cause and in 1958, joined Trotskyists, ex-Communists and independent radicals in proposing the creation of a united left-wing coalition to challenge for seats in the elections for the New York state senate and assembly. He was indicted in the United States under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and acquitted for lack of evidence. In 1959, Du Bois received the Lenin Peace Prize.

In 1961, at the age of 93, he joined the Communist Party USA. Death Du Bois was invited to Ghana in 1961 by President Kwame Nkrumah to direct the Encyclopedia Africana, a government production, and a long-held dream of his. When, in 1963, he was refused a new U.S. passport, he and his wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois, became citizens of Ghana. Contrary to some opinions (including David Levering Lewis' Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Du Bois) he never renounced his US citizenship even when denied a passport to travel to Ghana.

Du Bois' health had declined in 1962, and on August 27, 1963, he died in Accra, Ghana at the age of ninety-five, one day before Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.[2] At the March on Washington, Roy Wilkins informed the hundreds of thousands of marchers and called for a moment of silence.[36] Pronunciation and spelling of Du Bois Du Bois' name is sometimes misspelled "DuBois," "du Bois," or "duBois"; the correct spelling separates the two syllables and capitalizes each.[37] Although the name is of French origin, Du Bois himself pronounced it [duːˈbɔɪz] instead of the French [dybwa].[1] Works published Du Bois wrote and published over 4,000 articles, essays and books over the course of the 95-year life. Most of these are out of print and hard to find even in their original publications. No edition of his complete works has yet been published. In 1977, Paul G.

Partington published a bibliography of Du Bois' published works, titled W. E. B. Du Bois: A Bibliography of His Published Writings.

(Whittier, CA: c.1977, 1979 (rev. ed.)) (privately published). ISBN: 0960253815. A supplement was published in 1984, titled W.

E. B. Du Bois: A Bibliography of His Published Writings—Supplement. (Whittier, CA: c.

1984). 20pages. The supplement represented Partington's research in the Du Bois' papers owned by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Books * Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 by W. E.

Burghardt Du Bois, with introduction by Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis. 768 pages. (Free Press: 1995 reissued from 1935 original) ISBN 0684856573. This is the longest work by Du Bois. * The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America: 1638–1870 PhD dissertation, 1896, (Harvard Historical Studies, Longmans, Green, and Co.: New York) Full Text * The Study of the Negro Problems (1898) * The Philadelphia Negro (1899) * The Negro in Business (1899) * The Evolution of Negro Leadership.

The Dial, 31 (July 16, 1901). * [1903] (1999) The Souls of Black Folk. ISBN 0-393-97393-X. * The Talented Tenth, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903). * Voice of the Negro II (September 1905) * John Brown: A Biography (1909) * Efforts for Social Betterment among Negro Americans (1909) * Atlanta University's Studies of the Negro Problem (1897-1910) * The Quest of the Silver Fleece 1911 * The Negro (1915) * Darkwater (1920) * The Gift of Black Folk (1924) * Dark Princess: A Romance (1928) * Africa, its Geography, People and Products (1930) * Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930) * Black Reconstruction: An Essay toward a History of the Part which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 (1935) * What the Negro has Done for the United States and Texas (1936) * Black Folk, Then and Now (1939) * Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940) * Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945) * The Encyclopedia of the Negro (1946) * The World and Africa (1946) * Peace is Dangerous (1951) * I take my stand for Peace (1951) * In Battle for Peace (1952) * The Black Flame: A Trilogy * The Ordeal of Mansart (1957) * Mansart Builds a School (1959) * Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960) * Worlds of Color (1961) * An ABC of Color: Selections from Over a Half Century of the Writings of W. E.

B. Du Bois (1963) * The World and Africa, An Inquiry into the Part Which Africa has Played in World History (1965) * The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt Du Bois (International publishers, 1968) Articles * The American Negro Academy Occasional Papers, 1897, No.

2 "The Conservation Of Races" full text Published as * Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade, The Souls of Black Folk, Dusk of Dawn (Nathan I. Huggins, ed.) (Library of America, 1986) ISBN 978-0-94045033-2 Bibliography * David Levering Lewis W. E. B.

Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (Owl Books 1994). Winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Biography[1] and winner also of the 1994 Bancroft Prize and the Francis Parkman Prize for historical research and writing. * David Levering Lewis W. E. B.

Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963 (Owl Books 2001). Covers the second half of the life of W. E. B.

Du Bois, charting 44 years of the culture and politics of race in the United States. Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Biography [2] * Eugene Victor Wolfenstein, A Gift of the Spirit: Reading THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007. * His Was The Voice, The Life of W. E. B.

Du Bois by Emma Gelders Sterne, Foreword by Ronald Stevenson; Crowell-Collier Press, NY, 1971; 232pp. * W. E. B. Du Bois by Sarah Ann McGill * The W.

E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington Debate:Effects upon African American Roles in Engineering and Engineering Technology.

by Keith Johnson and Elwood Watson, Journal of Technology Studies, Fall 2004 * William Edward Burghardt-Historian, Social Critic, Activist by Brown, Theodore M., Fee, and Elizabeth; American Journal of Public Health, Feb 2003 Legacy In 1992, the United States honored W. E. B. Du Bois with his portrait on a postage stamp. On October 5, 1994, the main library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was named after him. A dormitory on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught for a period of time, is named after him. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience (New York: Basic-Civitas, 1999, Hardcover, 2144 pp.

ISBN 0-465-00071-1) was inspired by and dedicated to W. E. B. Du Bois by its editors, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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