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A Biography of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

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A Biography of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

A Biography of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

To the many who admired him, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was, by strong-willed dedication and intellectual perseverance, an assailant of inequality and a guardian of liberty. A herald of "Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism" (Hynes), he passed away in self-imposed isolation with his ancestors in his land of comfort, the magnificent Africa (Hynes). Branded as a "radical," he was overlooked by those who held on to the hope that his substantial offerings would be hidden in his grave beside him (Hynes). As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:

History cannot ignore W.E.B. Du Bois because history has to reflect truth and Dr. Du Bois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves with honest study of the black man and he sought to fill this immense void. The degree to which he succeeded disclosed the great dimensions of the man. (Hynes)

Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (Hynes). At that point in time, Great Barrington had between twenty-five and fifty Black people out of a total populace composed of more than five thousand (Hynes). As a result, there were very modest signs of explicit discrimination. However, its toxin circulated through a steady stream of evocative overtones and the malicious attitudes of its inhabitants (Hynes). This greatly transformed the persona of William in his youth, from pleasant and sociable to surly and reserved. This was toughened and reinforced later by internal abandonment in the face of real prejudice. His characteristics of introspection disturbed him all through his life (Hynes).

Du Bois was published in the community's newspaper by the age of fourteen. He graduated from high school early and enrolled at Fisk University (Wager). Upon receiving his Baccalaureate degree, Du Bois accepted a scholarship at the University of Berlin, where he studied for two years (Wager). Following this, he went to Harvard, where he received his doctoral degree, being the first African American to do so. His dissertation, approved in 1895, was published as The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870 (Wager). Regarded as a masterpiece of historiography, this work remains an outstanding

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