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Du Bois, or William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, was an African-American writer, teacher, sociologist and activist whose work transformed the way that the lives of black citizens were seen in American society. Considered ahead of his time, Du Bois was an early champion of using data to solve social issues for the black community, and his writing — including his groundbreaking The Souls of Black Folk — became required reading in African-American studies. His tuition was paid by several churches in Great Barrington.

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Du Bois became an editor for the Herald , the student magazine. After graduation, Du Bois attended Harvard University , starting in and eventually receiving advanced degrees in history. In , Du Bois worked towards a Ph. He returned to the United States without his doctorate but later received one from Harvard while teaching classics at Wilberforce University in Ohio. There he married Nina Gomer, one of his students, in The work took up so much of his time that he missed the birth of his first son in Great Barrington.

The study is considered one of the earliest examples of statistical work being used for sociological purposes, with extensive fieldwork resulting in hundreds of interviews conducted door-to-door by Du Bois.

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W.E.B. Du Bois

The U. Bureau of Labor Statistics offered Du Bois a job in , leading to several groundbreaking studies on black Southern households in Farmville, Virginia , that uncovered how slavery still affected the personal lives of African Americans. Du Bois would do four more studies for the bureau, two in Alabama and two in Georgia.

These studies were considered radical at the time when sociology existed in pure theoretical forms.

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Du Bois was pivotal in making investigation and data analysis crucial to sociological study. Du Bois and family moved to Atlanta University, where he taught sociology and worked on his additional Bureau of Labor Statistics studies. Among the books written during this period was The Souls of Black Folk , a collection of sociological essays examining the black experience in America.

It also expressly differentiated Du Bois from more conservative black voices like Booker T. In Du Bois taught summer school at Booker T. That group failed, partly due to opposition from Washington , but during its existence Du Bois published The Moon Illustrated Weekly , the first weekly magazine for African Americans, producing a total of 34 issues and folding in He followed this up briefly with the journal Horizon. Du Bois also became more interested in communism and international issues, and became an open supporter of progressive and left-wing groups, which created problems with NAACP leadership.

He left the organization again in Following the death of his wife in , Du Bois married Shirley Graham the following year. In Du Bois officially joined the American Communist Party before leaving the country to live in Ghana at the invitation of its president and becoming a citizen there.

1900-1915: Continuation of Nineteenth-Century Patterns

Du Bois first conceived of the Encyclopedia Africana in , a compendium of history and achievement of people of African descent designed to bring a sense of unity to the African diaspora. After Du Bois was invited to move to Ghana, he pledged to finally publish the work, but it was never realized before his death. Du Bois died in Ghana in and was given a state funeral. University of Massachusetts.


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Henry Louis Gates Jr. Du Bois: Biography of a Race — David Levering Lewis. In the presidential election of African Americans voted in large numbers for the Democrats for the first time.

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In Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover nominated John J. Parker , a man of pronounced antiblack views, to the U. Supreme Court.


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In the presidential race African Americans overwhelmingly supported the successful Democratic candidate, Franklin D. Hastie, who in became the first black federal judge; Eugene K. African Americans benefited greatly from New Deal programs, though discrimination by local administrators was common.

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Low-cost public housing was made available to black families. The Congress of Industrial Organizations CIO , established in the mids, organized large numbers of black workers into labour unions for the first time.


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By there were more than , African Americans in the CIO, many of them officers of union locals. However, unemployed whites were generally the first to be given jobs. Discrimination against African Americans in hiring impelled A. Although discrimination remained widespread, during the war African Americans secured more jobs at better wages in a greater range of occupations than ever before.

Some 1. Once again, serious housing shortages and job competition led to increased tension between blacks and whites. Race riots broke out; the worst occurred in Detroit in June During the war, which the United States had entered in December , a large proportion of African American soldiers overseas were in service units, and combat troops remained segregated.

In the course of the war, however, the army introduced integrated officer training, and Benjamin O.