W. E. B. Du Bois

duboisWe have chosen to use the image of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) as our avatar and logo because he is the embodiment of an uncompromising  intellectual, a principled black man that could not and would not tolerate the treatment of African Americans during his lifetime. A writer, civil rights activist, historian, and college professor, Du Bois could have lived a comfortable life. but he chose to engage in the struggle.

As one of the founding principals of the NAACP (February 1909),  Du Bois, a side from his many educational accomplishments insisted in all of his actions that the United States move to a state of racial equality, that all men were created equal. He did not live to see the fruits of much of his achievements or hard work.

According to David Levering Lewis, a Du Bois biographers,  Du Bois witnessed several events he just could not tolerate. For example, while walking in downtown Atlanta, where he served as a professor at Atlanta University, Du Bois still disturbed by a recent lynching, noticed the bloody knuckles of the hanged victim displayed in a merchants store window as a souvenir.

 

 

 

 

The amendments after the Civil War (13, 14 & 15) were essential to settling the rights of African-Americans, both free and former slaves, abolishing slavery, establishing the citizenship of blacks, the right to vote. However, it took nearly 100 years to have these laws be part of the American culture. Some argue, that blacks still have not achieved the full promise of the ideals of the founders of the United States.

During the years before the 2nd World War Du Bois traveled around the world.  While visiting Germany he was horrified of the treatment of Jews by the Nazis.  but said he was treated well. After years of struggle with the U.S. government regarding his passport, Du Bois left the country for good and spent his final years in Africa (Ghana) just as the civil rights movement was beginning to make in roads into the American legal system and conscious. He is honored in Accra, Ghana at the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture and his local home turned museum.

 

 

 

Du Bois fought battles within the struggle as well.  He had deep philosophical differences with Booker T. Washington and Ida B. Wells.  Shaped by his time in the Deep South, Du Bois say unspeakable crimes by white citizens supported by law enforcement. In his writings he even mentioned the body parts of the recently hanged black men displayed in the shop windows as souvenirs. It was obvious his goal to move forward with civil and indeed human rights for blacks was his premier goal.

The ideals of Du Bois, along with his un-waving determination, combined with an un questionable intellect he is our hero. Working, writing, lecturing, the progressive movement and actions is his legacy.

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The converse of progressive, conservatism is by definition a stalwart to change. The Conservative movement in the United States has become increasing more hostile to the advancement of minorities, both in civil rights and economic opportunity. Blackhistory-101.com will post both stories from the past and points of view from today as a critique of how far America needs to grow to achieve or live up to what Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as America’s true creed and the tireless work of our hero, W.E.B. Du Bois.

 

 

 

 

 

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