Born Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Sociologist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois originated the policies-legal suits, legislative lobbying, and public protest-that characterized the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1900s, he organized protests against the increasing racial violence that spread from the South into northern cities.
Breaking ranks with Booker T. Washington and his policies of accommodation and gradualism, Du Bois called for immediate civil and political rights for African Americans.
He founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910 and became editor of its monthly magazine, The Crisis. Du Bois's disillusionment after World War I attracted him to Marxism and led him to question the efficacy of legal and political tactics to end racism. He eventually became a citizen of Ghana.
Du Bois was the author of such classic works as The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and Black Reconstruction in America (1935).