Rosemaria Gamache

Written by Rosemaria Gamache

Modified & Updated: 27 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


W.E.B. Du Bois was a remarkable figure in American history, leaving an indelible mark on the fields of sociology, civil rights activism, and literature. Born in 1868, Du Bois dedicated his life to challenging and dismantling racial inequality in the United States. His groundbreaking work not only shed light on the harsh realities faced by African Americans but also paved the way for social and political change. In this article, we will explore eight astounding facts about W.E.B. Du Bois, from his pioneering studies on the African American experience to his role in co-founding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Join us as we delve into the life and contributions of this trailblazing intellectual and activist.

Key Takeaways:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois was a trailblazing activist, writer, and educator who fought for civil rights and racial equality, leaving a lasting impact on American history.
  • His groundbreaking achievements, including co-founding the NAACP and becoming the first African American to earn a PhD from Harvard, paved the way for future generations and continue to inspire change today.
Table of Contents

Du Bois was a founding member of the NAACP.

W.E.B. Du Bois played a crucial role in the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in This organization became one of the most influential civil rights organizations in the country and continues to fight for racial justice today.

He was the first African American to earn a PhD from Harvard University.

Breaking barriers and defying racial discrimination, Du Bois became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Harvard University in His academic achievements opened doors for future generations of African American scholars and intellectuals.

Du Bois penned one of the most significant works in African American literature.

In 1903, Du Bois published “The Souls of Black Folk,” a collection of essays that explored the experiences of African Americans in post-Civil War America. This influential book delves into the concepts of double consciousness and the veil, highlighting the complexities of being both Black and American.

He advocated for full civil rights and social equality.

Throughout his life, Du Bois fought tirelessly for equal rights and social justice for African Americans. He demanded an end to segregation, voting rights for Black Americans, and equal treatment under the law. His influential writings and powerful speeches made him a leading figure in the civil rights movement.

Du Bois organized the historic Pan-African Congresses.

In an effort to unite people of African descent from around the world, Du Bois played a key role in organizing the Pan-African Congresses. These gatherings brought together intellectuals, activists, and leaders to discuss the issues faced by people of African descent and advocate for their rights on a global scale.

He was the editor of “The Crisis” magazine.

Du Bois served as the editor of “The Crisis,” the official magazine of the NAACP, from 1910 to Through this influential publication, Du Bois shed light on the social, economic, and political challenges faced by African Americans and provided a platform for their voices to be heard.

Du Bois believed in the power of education.

Recognizing the significance of education in empowering marginalized communities, Du Bois emphasized the importance of education for African Americans. He believed that education was a catalyst for social change and played a crucial role in fighting against racial inequality.

Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana.

Towards the end of his life, W.E.B. Du Bois renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Ghana, where he became a citizen. He continued his activism and wrote extensively, leaving a lasting legacy that extended far beyond the borders of the United States.

These 8 astounding facts highlight the immense impact that W.E.B. Du Bois had on the fight for racial equality and social justice. His tireless efforts and unwavering dedication continue to inspire and resonate with generations to come.


In conclusion, W.E.B. Du Bois was an extraordinary individual whose contributions to the civil rights movement and sociological research continue to be revered today. His relentless dedication to fighting for racial equality and justice was instrumental in shaping the course of American history. From being the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University to co-founding the NAACP, Du Bois left an indelible mark on academia, activism, and literature.Through his writings and activism, Du Bois challenged prevailing notions of race and advocated for the equal rights and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their skin color. His seminal work, “The Souls of Black Folk,” shed light on the experiences and struggles of African Americans in the United States, providing an insightful analysis of race relations. Du Bois’ intellectual prowess and scholarly achievements continue to inspire and educate individuals across various disciplines.W.E.B. Du Bois’ fearless pursuit of justice, coupled with his unwavering commitment to education and research, makes him an iconic figure in American history. His legacy serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of social justice, equality, and the pursuit of knowledge in creating a more equitable and inclusive society.


Q: When was W.E.B. Du Bois born?

A: W.E.B. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Q: What did W.E.B. Du Bois study at Harvard University?

A: Du Bois studied history, sociology, and economics during his time at Harvard University. He went on to become the first African American to earn a doctorate from this prestigious institution.

Q: What role did W.E.B. Du Bois play in the civil rights movement?

A: Du Bois was one of the prominent leaders of the civil rights movement. He co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 and served as the editor of its influential publication, The Crisis.

Q: What is W.E.B. Du Bois’ most famous book?

A: “The Souls of Black Folk” is considered to be W.E.B. Du Bois’ most famous book. In this seminal work, he eloquently explores the experiences and struggles of African Americans, delving into topics such as race, identity, and equality.

Q: Did W.E.B. Du Bois advocate for peaceful protests or more radical means?

A: Du Bois initially favored a more peaceful approach to achieving equality but later became more radical in his ideas. He believed in using any means necessary to fight for racial justice and equal rights.

Q: What was W.E.B. Du Bois’ stance on education?

A: Du Bois strongly believed in the power of education to uplift individuals and communities. He advocated for equal educational opportunities for all, emphasizing the importance of knowledge and learning in the fight against racial inequality.

Q: What is W.E.B. Du Bois’ lasting legacy?

A: W.E.B. Du Bois’ legacy lies in his unparalleled contributions to the civil rights movement, his groundbreaking sociological research, and his influential writings. He continues to inspire generations of activists, scholars, and individuals striving for a more just and equitable society.

W.E.B. Du Bois' remarkable life and achievements continue to inspire generations. His legacy extends beyond his personal accomplishments, as evidenced by the institutions bearing his name. For those eager to learn more about this extraordinary figure, exploring the fascinating facts surrounding the W.E.B. Du Bois Library offers a wealth of knowledge. From its enigmatic history to its role in preserving Du Bois' intellectual heritage, the library holds many captivating secrets waiting to be discovered.

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