W.E.B. Du Bois
A Life in American History
by Charisse Burden-Stelly and Gerald Horne
September 2019, 257pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6496-4
$69, £54, 60€, A95
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6497-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1903 essay collection The Souls of Black Folk remains a seminal work in African American literary history.

This book provides a new interpretation of the life of W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the most important African American scholars and thinkers of the 20th century.

This revealing biography captures the full life of W.E.B. Du Bois—historian, sociologist, author, editor, and a leader in the fight to bring African Americans more fully into the American landscape as well as a forceful proponent of their leaving America altogether and returning to Africa. Drawing on extensive research and including new primary documents, sidebars, and analysis, Gerald Horne and Charisse Burden-Stelly offer a portrait of this remarkable man, paying special attention to the often-overlooked radical decades at the end of Du Bois’s life.

The book also highlights Du Bois’s relationships with and influence on civil rights activists, intellectuals, and freedom fighters, among them Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Louise Thompson Patterson, William Alphaeus Hunton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The biography includes a selection of primary source documents, including personal letters, speeches, poems, and newspaper articles, that provide insight into Du Bois’s life based on his own words and analysis.


  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the life and times of W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach to his life and works
  • Traces his radicalization over time
  • Pays particular attention to the effects of the Cold War and anticommunism on his philosophy
  • Provides key primary documents with explanations of their significance
Charisse Burden-Stelly, PhD, is assistant professor of Africana studies and political science at Carleton College, in Northfield, MN. She is working on a manuscript entitled Epistemologies of Blackness and has several published articles and works forthcoming on topics including the conjuncture of antiradicalism and antiblackness, Black communist and socialist thought, and the elision of political economy in Black Studies.

Gerald Horne, PhD, is Moores Professor of History and African American studies at the University of Houston and author of dozens of books including Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois. He is coeditor of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Encyclopedia.

Black History Lives

This biography series explores the lives of the most iconic figures in African American history, with material that supports state standards while highlighting the subject’s significance in our contemporary world. Each volume includes a narrative of the life of each subject, a chapter on the subject’s larger cultural and historical significance, a chronology, a comprehensive bibliography, and sidebars that offer pertinent cultural connections to the worlds of social, political, intellectual, and popular culture. An appendix of primary document excerpts rounds out each volume. Readers of the Black History Lives series will gain a greater understanding of the outside events and influences that shaped each subject’s world, from familial relationships to political and cultural developments.


Series foreword Biographical narrative chapters Why X Matters chapter that explores the subject’s importance within the context of American history Timeline Bibliography Primary Source Documents “Cultural Connections” Sidebars Index
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