W.E.B. Du Bois was a prominent civil rights leader and NAACP founder
The significance of Du Bois's influence in America's progress toward greater equality can only be appreciated in retrospect. Some of the most pivotal turning points in African-American and American history occurred during his lifetime. His passionate yet logical oratory forced an entire nation to face its biases and advance toward its better nature. Quote from Du Bois: "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression."
To begin, W.E.B. Du Bois is one of the few American historical leaders who stands out with equal parts intellectual and social force. He was more than just an activist; he was a revolutionary thinker, author, and historian. Du Bois combined sharp criticism with indefatigable advocacy, making significant contributions to the transformation of the American conversation about race and opening the door to the larger civil rights movement of the 20th century.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and he excelled academically from an early age. Thanks to his academic success, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. After that he continued his education by becoming the first African American to complete a doctoral program at Harvard. His experience at Fisk University in the South taught him about the region's racial divide and the lasting effects of slavery on its people.
Du Bois was known as the scholar-activist because of the seamless way in which his scholarly and political work intertwined. His seminal work, "The Souls of Black Folk" (1903), captured the history, hopes, and dreams of African Americans. In these stirring pieces, he first used the term "double-consciousness" to describe the experience of constantly judging one's own value based on the opinions of others, especially those who hold racist beliefs.
One of his most notable and enduring legacies was his work in 1909 to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The group was founded to end racial discrimination and promote the full participation in American society by members of underrepresented groups. Du Bois was able to express his ideas and mobilize support for the cause of civil rights as director of publicity and research and editor of the NAACP's periodical, *The Crisis*.
Pan-Africanism and Later Life: Du Bois cared about more than just the future of African-Americans. To unify all people of African heritage and fight colonialism, he was a central role in the Pan-African movement. As a result of his efforts, a number of Pan-African conferences were held, all of which fought for the freedom and equality of African countries.
After growing impatient with the pace of civil rights development in the United States and finding inspiration in Africa's quick decolonization, Du Bois retired to Ghana at the invitation of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah. He worked until the day before the historic March on Washington in 1963, when he passed away.
W.E.B. Du Bois's legacy is one that is still felt today. The lessons, thoughts, and activism of Du Bois shine a light on the path forward as America faces its racial history and strives for a more inclusive future. The quest for justice is a constant journey, but one that is well worth it, as his work shows us.