W.E.B. Du Bois

A Biography

by Gerald Horne


A founder of the NCAAP, father of Pan-Africanism, and one of the most accomplished scholars and authors in American history, Willam Edward Burghardt Du Bois is a towering figure in American intellectual history. His extraordinary life of 98 years stretched from the Jim Crow era to Martin Luther King, Jr's March on Washington, yet it was a life filled with controversy—over his socialist beliefs, sympathies for Stalin, membership in the American Communist Party, and ultimately, self-imposed exile in Ghana.

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Cover image for W.E.B. Du Bois

November 2009


Pages 211
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/African American Studies

This biography of W.E.B. Du Bois gives full measure to his entire life, including his controversial final decades.

This revealing biography captures the full life of W.E.B. Du Bois—historian, sociologist, author, editor—a leader in the fight to bring African Americans more fully into the American landscape as well as forceful proponent of them leaving America altogether and returning to Africa.

Drawing on extensive research, Gerald Horne, a leading authority on Du Bois and a versatile and prolific scholar in his own right, offers a fully rounded portrait of this accomplished and controversial figure, including the often overlooked final decades without which no portrait of Du Bois could be complete. The book also highlights Du Bois's relationships with and influence upon other leading civil rights activists both during, and subsequent to, his extraordinarily long life, including Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglas, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Jesse Jackson.


  • Includes extensive use of original materials, including Du Bois' correspondence and writings
  • Offers a chronology of key personal and historic events during Du Bois' life (1868-1963)


  • Captures the full breadth of Du Bois's life, including the controversial final decades
  • Portrays Du Bois as a towering intellectual—a thorough modern thinker and innovative scholar and researcher of the African American experience
  • Provides an accessible, up-to-date biography of a founder of the NAACP as that organization celebrates its centennial
Series Description

Greenwood Biographies

Ideal for student research assignments, this series features interesting and important figures—contemporary and historical—drawn from a broad range of curriculum subject areas, including history, science, politics, literature, and the arts. The series fills a gap in reference collections, offering full-length, engagingly written biographies that are enjoyable to read, based on authoritative research, and fully documented. Each volume includes:
  • Coverage from birth to death or the present day
  • Timeline highlighting significant biographical events and career contributions
  • Portfolio of photographs depicting the subject at different stages of life
  • Bibliography of print and electronic resources recommended for further study

From Bob Marley and Dr. Dre to Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, the Greenwood Biographies spotlight the people who shape our world.
Author Info

Gerald Horne is professor of African American Studies and John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History at the University of Houston, Houston, TX, and author of more than two dozen books, including Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois.



"Horne, an authority on W. E. B. Du Bois, offers a biography of the American scholar, historian, and activist who founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The biography covers his youth, education, career, and personal life, up to his final years in Ghana, and looks into his influence on other leading civil rights activists, including Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, and Jesse Jackson. The book includes a brief timeline and b&w historical photos."Reference & Research Book News

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