Born in a small village in Massachusetts in 1868, DuBois first came face to face with the realities of racism in 19th century America while attending Fisk University in Nashville.
In 1897, DuBois took a position with Atlanta University. During his tenure there he conducted extensive studies of the social conditions of blacks in America. At the 1900 Paris World's Fair, DuBois created a full-scale exhibit of African American achievement since the Emancipation Procamation in industrial work, literature, and journalism. It included photodocumentation on educational institutions such as Tuskeegee, Fisk, and Howard. Congress approved of $15,000 for installation, and it was installed - off midway and in the Social Economy section of the Liberal Arts building where it languished compared with the negative Midway exhibits.
In 1903 he wrote The Souls of Black Folk (which may be read online here) which serves as the underpinning of access to many of his ideas.
Throughout the first half of the 20th Century, W.E.B. DuBois continued to work as an author, lecturer and educator. His teachings were an important influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the'50s and'60s. Ironically, DuBois died on the eve of the historic march on Washington in 1963. Actor and playwright Ossie Davis read an announcement of his death to the 250,000 people gathered the next day at the Washington Monument.
© 2005 by Paige Dickerson