Du Bois, W.E.B.
Father of Pan-Africanism
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a leading champion of equality for blacks in the United States and elsewhere. An African American born in Massachusetts, Du Bois attended college and earned a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. In the early 1900s, he became a black civil rights leader. Du Bois was known for his view that social change could be achieved only through active protest. In 1909 he helped create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which became a leading civil rights organization in the United States.
Du Bois was also the founder of Pan-Africanism, a movement aimed at unifying blacks throughout the world in protest against racism and colonialism. He believed that people of African descent everywhere had common interests and should work together to improve their place in society. However, he campaigned against the ideas of fellow Pan-Africanist Marcus Mosiah GARVEY, who encouraged black Americans to go “back to Africa” to rediscover their heritage and build new lives there. Du Bois organized several Pan-African conferences in the 1920s and 1930s.
Du Bois wrote many books, including Souls of Black Folk (1903), The Negro (1915), Color and Democracy (1945), and The World and Africa (1947). Toward the end of his life, Du Bois moved to Ghana, where he renounced his U.S. citizenship. (See also Diaspora, African, Negritude.)