Author: W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois, 1918

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) was an American scholar, author, civil rights activist, and cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Born in western Massachusetts, Du Bois was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University, and he taught history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University, the nation’s oldest graduate institution serving a predominantly African American student body. His books include The Souls of Black Folk (1903), The Talented Tenth (1903), and Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940), among many others.

Of the Coming of John

W. E. B. Du Bois

In his widely celebrated and influential collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Du Bois powerfully presents accounts of the troubled experiences of black people in America, so that, as he says at the end of the introductory chapter, “men may listen to the striving in the souls of black folk.”

On Being Crazy

W. E. B. Du Bois

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1883 ruling in the Civil Rights Cases, sanctioned and state-enforced segregation became the way of life in large parts of the United States. This little story, written in 1907 by W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), scholar, author, civil rights activist, and cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, reports a first-person encounter with racial discrimination in public accommodations.