African American Hero of the Day

African American Almanac
ISBN: 9781578593231

Who was a noted scholar, sociologist, editor, and critic who had a Ph.D. from Harvard University, was a cofounder of the NAACP, and is today still considered a monumental figure in African American history?

  • Born in 1868, he taught Latin, Greek, economics, and history after he finished his university studies.
  • He edited Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP from 1909 to 1934.
  • One of his most notable accomplishments was editing the Encyclopedia Africana in the 1960s.
  • He was a supporter of women's suffrage and one of the first African Americans to recognize the problem of gender issues within the black community.

W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963)

Scholar, Critic, Editor, Author, Activist

An outstanding critic, editor, scholar, author, and civil rights leader, W.E.B. DuBois is certainly among the most influential blacks of the twentieth century.

Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on February 23, 1868, DuBois received a bachelor's degree from Fisk University and went on to win a second bachelor's, as well as a Ph.D., from Harvard. He was professor of Latin and Greek at Wilberforce and the University of Pennsylvania, and also served as a professor of economics and history at Atlanta University.

One of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909, DuBois served as that organization's director of publications and editor of Crisis magazine until 1934. In 1944 he returned from Atlanta University to become head of the NAACP's special research department, a post he held until 1948. DuBois immigrated to Africa in 1961 and became editor in chief of the Encyclopedia Africana, an enormous publishing venture that had been planned by Kwame Nkrumah, since then deposed as president of Ghana. DuBois died in Ghana in 1963 at the age of ninety-five.

His numerous books include The Suppression of the Slave Trade (1896), The Philadelphia Negro (1899), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), John Brown (1909), Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911), The Negro (1915), Darkwater (1920), The Gift of Black Folk (1924), Dark Princess (1928), Black Folk: Then and Now (1939), Dusk of Dawn (1940), Color and Democracy (1945), The World and Africa (1947), In Battle for Peace (1952), and a trilogy, Black Flame (1957-1961).

It is this enormous literary output on such a wide variety of themes that offers the most convincing testimony to DuBois's lifetime position that it was vital for blacks to cultivate their own aesthetic and cultural values even as they made valuable strides toward social emancipation. In this he was opposed by Booker T. Washington, who felt that black people should concentrate on developing technical and mechanical skills before all else.

DuBois was one of the first male civil rights leaders to recognize the problems of gender discrimination. He was among the first men to understand the unique problems of black women, and to value their contributions. He supported the women's suffrage movement and strove to integrate this mostly white struggle. He encouraged many black female writers, artists, poets, and novelists, featuring their works in Crisis and sometimes providing personal financial assistance to them. Several of his novels feature women as prominently as men, an unusual approach for any author of his day. DuBois spent his life working not just for the equality of all men, but for the equality of all people.

From African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence by Lean'tin Bracks, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). A wealth of milestones, inspiration, and challenges met . . .

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