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1.  His full name is William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.  Check the pronunciation, there is a correct way to pronounce his last name. If you're not careful, in some circles it can out your blackness - or so I've been told, after I said it wrong.

2.  Mr. DuBois was the first African-American to earn a PhD from Harvard (1895) ten years after attending Fisk University in Nashville, TN. He attended and taught at many universities in and out of the country.

3.  He was an author, publishing The Souls of Black Folks in 1903 and over 20 other works.

4.  His great grandmother, Elizabeth Freeman, was a slave that sued the state of Massachusetts to earn her freedom.

5. He earned the "Lenin Peace Prize"; the Soviet equivalent to the Nobel Prize in 1959.

6.  Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana in 1963.

7.  Mr. Du Bois was a proponent of PanAfricanism.

8.  With supporters, Du Bois is credited for founding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

9.  Married and widowed then remarried, W.E.B. Du Bois traveled the world and fathered two children and one stepson. 

10. W.E.B. DuBois died on the eve of the historic march on Washington D.C. in 1963, the march which was led by Martin Luther King Jr.

"Men of America, the problem is plain before you. Here is a race transplanted through the criminal foolishness of your fathers. Whether you like it or not the millions are here, and here they will remain. If you do not lift them up, they will pull you down. Education and work are the levers to uplift a people. Work alone will not do it unless inspired by the right ideals and guided by intelligence. Education must not simply teach work--it must teach Life. The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people. No others can do this work and Negro colleges must train men for it. The Negro race, like all other races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men." - The Talented Tenth by W.E.B. Du Bois (September 1903) 

Wrestle with that tenth being exceptional thing...

Saddest to me, he was labeled a radical activist for what he spoke about and eventually needed to leave America for Ghana. This actually reminds me of Jesus Christ in John 4:4, Mark 6:4. Easy for us with hindsight - that 20/20 vision, right? - surely we wouldn't do something like that, we would have been the ones to step up and host Du Bois and Jesus in our homes despite the gossip, threats and alienation for affiliating with them or even seeming to align ourselves with their way of thinking. I get choked up sometimes when calling another Christian back to their proclamation that "Jesus is their Lord." 

To be a man or woman that is willing to go there. To talk about it. To ask questions, to challenge, to imprint on others hearts and minds a new way of viewing an old matter of fact thing; I want to be able to do this. Being passionate about God will develop that courage and strength to be able to talk calmly and openly about race, poverty, marginalized groups of people and it will move me to act and more importantly inspire others to follow. What a great opportunity for growth, for me.

I wonder about Mr. Du Bois' faith. I found nothing while learning about him. Granted, I did not dig and delve, but even when I searched, 'top 10 fascinating facts about W.E.B. Du Bois' little about his faith was mentioned. He did want the church to step up and partner to erase the power and damages of the color line, but I've not seen exactly what he wanted the church to do.

A collegian, an activist, a teacher - I believe that W.E.B. Du Bois has qualified as a 2013 Black History Hero.

Read, study more and comment, I am eager to learn more.



 


02/06/2013 12:21

This is great... I love the quote. It certainly challenges the senses and causes self relection. I too wonder about his faith.

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