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W.E.B.Du Bois,(1868-1963),was one of the foremost,early leaders in the struggle for racial equality in the United States.He was a scholar, an activist, a co-founder of the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, and the crusading editor of The Crisis.From his home in Massachusetts,his first educational journey away from New England took him to Fisk University in Nashville. For the first time,he experienced the South,where he observed many achievements of the Reconstruction period disappearing. After graduation,he received a scholarship to Harvard University where his efforts were rewarded with further study at the University of Berlin. It was there that he became a convert to the new science of sociology.

Following his return to America,Du Bois produced the monumental Philadelphia Negro,the first scientific study of urban blacks in America.As a social scientist, Du Bois used the objective method of his profession to challenge discriminatory ideologies and institutions and to advocate social change. Not always in agreement with his fellow activists about how to create the changes necessary to provide equality, Du Bois remained a strong advocate for high achievement and intellectual pursuits.

This traveling exhibit,prepared by the W.E.B.Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, contains documents culled from the extensive materials in the library ’s DuBois Collection ( It provides a biographical overview of Du Bois’life and deals with his intellectual achievements and the highlights of his career. The materials are largely photographs,but they include information on Du Bois’ life and work, along with graphics from the collection and facsimiles of significant documents.

The Massachusetts Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy provided support for the preparation and lending of the exhibit,and the University of Connecticut’s Institute for African American Studies has provided funding for the exhibit at the University of Connecticut Libraries.

Click on the image above of Du Bois (1907) to go to the UMass W.E.B. Du Bois Library's site for the exhibit. All rights to images on this page belong to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library

Dodd Center,West Corridor
Curator:Jane Recchio

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