The Work

A Calendar of the Public Life of W. E. B. DuBois

1868 (February 23): Birth at Great Barrington, Mass.

1883-188S: Western Massachusetts correspondent for New YorkAge, New York Globe and Freeman; and GreatBarrington Correspondent for Springheld Republican.

1884: Graduates from High School in Great Barrington; valedictorian,speaker, subject: "Wendell Phillips."

1885-1888: Attends Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., receivingB.A. in 1888; teaches in country schools during summers.

1887-1888: Chief editor of the Fisk Herald.

1888: Enters Harvard as a junior.

1890: Graduates, B.A., cum laude in a Harvard class of300, is one of six Commencement speakers, subject: "JeffersonDavis: Representative of Civilization"; attracts nationalattention.

1892: Awarded, after considerable effort, a Slater Fund Fellowshipfor Graduate Study abroad.

1892-1894: Graduate student, mostly history and economics, atUniversity of Berlin; also considerable travel in Europe.

1894-1896: Professor of Greek and Latin, Wilberforce University,Ohio.

1896: Ph.D. degree from Harvard University.

18961897: Assistant Instructor in Sociology, University of Pennsylvania.

1897-1910: Professor of Economics and History, Atlanta University.

1897-1911: Organizer of the annual Atlanta University Studiesof the Negro Problem; editor of their Annual Publications.

1900: Secretary, First Pan-African Conference in England.

1905-1909: Founder and General Secretary of The Niagara Movement.

1906: Founder and editor of The Moon, published in Tennessee.

1907-1910: Chief founder and an editor of The Horizon,published in Washington, D.C.

1909: Among original founders and incorporators of The NationalAssociation for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

1910-1934: Director of Publicity and Research, Member, Board ofDirectors, NAACP.

1910: Founder and editor of The Crisis (until 1934); joinsSocialist Party.

1911: Participates in First Universal Races Congress in England.

1912: Supports Woodrow Wilson in Presidential campaign; helpsorganize first significant Negro breakaway from Republican Palty;resigns from Socialist Party.

1913: Joins Editorial Board of The New Review, a radical.socialst-oriented magazine published in New York City.

1917-1918: Supports U.S. entry into World War; fights maltreatmentof Negro troops; leads in efforts to enroll Negro officers; leadsmassive Silent Protest Parade (1917) down Fifth Avenue, New YorkCity, against lynching and jim-crow.

1919: Investigates, for NAACP, racist treatment of Negro troopsin Europe; exposure creates international sensation. Chief organizerof Modern Pan-African Movement, with First Conference held inParis.

1920: Leader in exposing role of U.S. in Haiti.

1920-1921: Founder and editor of The Brownies' Book, amagazine for children.

1921: Second Pan-African Congress, London, Brussels and Paris.

1923: Spingarn Medalist; Special Minister Plenipotentiary andEnvoy Extraordinary Representing the United States at Inaugurationof President of Liberia; Third Pan-African Congress in London,Paris and Lisbon.

1926: First and extensive visit to the Soviet Union.

1927: Leader in so-called "Negro Renaissance" Movement;founds the Negro Theatre in Harlem called the "Krigwa Players";Fourth Pan-African Congress in New York.

1933: Leading force in undertaking to produce an Encyclopediaof the Negro.

1934: Resigns from The Crisis and Board of NAACP.

1934-1944: Chairman, Department of Sociology, Atlanta University.

1936: Trip around the world.

1940: Founder and editor (to 1944) of Phylon Magazine,Atlanta.

1943: Organizer, First Conference of Negro Land-Grant Colleges.

1944: Extended visits to Haiti and Cuba.

1944: Returns to NAACP as Director of Special Research; holdsthis position to 1948.

1945: With Walter White, accredited from the NAACP as Consultantto Founding Convention of United Nations; seeks firm anti-colonialcommitment on part of the United States; presides at 5th Pan-AfricanCongress in Manchester, England.

1947: Edits, on behalf of NAACP, and presents to the UN, "AnAppeal to the World," protesting jim crow in the United States.

1948: Co-Chairman, Council on African Affairs.

1949: Helps organize, Cultural and Scientific Conference for WorldPeace, New York City; attends Paris Peace Congress; attends MoscowPeace Congress.

1950: Chairman, Peace Information Center; candidate in New Yorkfor U.S. Senator, Progressive Party.

1950-1951: Indictment, trial and acquittal on charge of "unregisteredforeign agent" in connection with leadership of Peace InformationCenter.

1958-1959: Extensive journeys, especially to USSR and China.

1961: Joins the Communist Party of the United States.

1961: At invitation of President Nkrumah, takes up residence inGhana as Director of Encyclopaedia Africana project.

1963: Becomes a citizen of Ghana.

1963: Dies (August 27); given a State funeral; lies buried inAccra.


Calendar arrangement necessarily omits whole areas of Dr. Du Bois'public life. Thus, he performed economic and sociological studiesfor the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture;he wrote weekly columns for many years in various newspapers includingthe Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, theNew York Amsterdam News and the San Francisco Chronicle.. Dr. Du Bois delivered thousands of lectures in colleges, churches,halls, schools in every State in the United States and in manycountries of the world, as Great Britain, France, China, Japan,Cuba, Haiti, Hungary, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, etc. Hewrote poetry that is in many anthologies; his dramatic pageantswere performed before thousands in New York, Philadelphia, Washingtonand Los Angeles. He helped inspire hundreds of novelists, poets,playwrights, sculptors, musicians and scientists not only by hiswork and example, but by direct assistance. And always he wasa fighter and organizer against racism, colonialism, imperialism,illiteracy, poverty and war. One of his earliest significant essayswritten while an undergraduate at Fisk in 1887--was entitled "AnOpen Letter to the Southern People," and was an appeal forcivilized conduct and an attack upon jim-crow; among his lastacts was to inspire a protest march upon the U.S. Embassy in Accra,in August, 1963 (the month of his death), in solidarity with thehistoric "March for Jobs and Freedom" to Washingtonthat month.

Du Bois' honors were many: Fellow and Life Member, American Associationfor the Advancement of Science; Member, National Institute ofArts and Letters; Knight Commander of the Liberian Order of AfricanRedemption; International Peace Prize; Lenin Peace Prize; andHonorary Degrees from: Fisk University, Howard University, AtlantaUniversity, Wilberforce University, Morgan State College, Universityof Berlin, Charles University (Prague).

From W.E.B. DuBois, The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century.New York, NY: International Publishers Co. Inc., 1968, pp. 438-440.

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