You may have heard of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but do you know about W.E.B. Du Bois? He was a civil rights leader who fought for equality long before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In celebration of Black History Month, here are ten fascinating facts about W.E.B. Du Bois:

1. Birth

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

2. Education

In 1895, Du Bois became the first African American to be hired at Harvard University. He was also the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895.

3. He was a writer

W.E.B. Du Bois wrote a book called “The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America 1638-1870.” In this book, he argued that slavery had a negative impact on both slaves and slaveholders. In 1911, he published “The Souls of Black Folk” which is considered one of the most important books about race in America.

4. One of the founders of NAACP

In 1905, Du Bois co-founded the Niagara Movement which later became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

5. An editor for NAACP

In addition to his work with the NAACP, he also edited The Crisis, its official magazine.

6. Belief in Pan-Africanism

He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism, which is the belief that all people of African descent should be united politically and economically.

7. Freedom newspaper

In 1961, he helped establish the Freedom newspaper with some of his former students from Atlanta University.

8. March on Washington

In 1963, he joined forces with MLK Jr., A Philip Randolph, and other civil rights leaders to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—better known as the March on Washington—where MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered.

9. Work with U.S. State Department

During World War I, Du Bois served as a special agent for the U.S. State Department in Ghana and Ethiopia where he helped to establish schools and hospitals.

10. The De Bois Centre

There is now a museum dedicated to his life and work in Ghana called The Du Bois Centre.

W. E. B. Du Bois was an important civil rights leader who fought for equality long before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s . He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped establish the Freedom newspaper. He also helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream ” speech was delivered. If you want to learn more about this important figure in American history, be sure to check out The Du Bois Centre in Ghana.

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