The W.E.B Du Bois collection consists of a small body of speeches, articles, correspondence and related material primarily authored by Du Bois. Of special interest is a typescript, with editorial comments, of the first two chapters of Du Bois' autobiography Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940). The collection also includes a typescript of an article entitled "Miscegenation" (1935). There are thirteen speeches and a book review ranging in subject matter from "The Talented Tenth," to a tribute to Dr. Carter F. Woodson, race relations, labor issues, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Mahatma Gandhi. One of the speeches "What the Negro Wants in 1948," was delivered at a meeting of the NAACP.
Biographical/historical: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an influential intellectual, professor, editor, writer and Pan-Africanist. Born in 1868, he received a bachelor's degree from Fisk University in 1888, and by 1895 he had received three degrees from Harvard University, culminating with the Ph.D.; the first African American to do so. Du Bois taught economics and history at Atlanta University (1897-1910).
This civil rights leader/scholar founded the Niagara Movement in opposition to the conservative policies of Booker T. Washington. One of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, Du Bois served as that organization's director of publications and editor of Crisis magazine until 1934. From 1944-1948 he headed the NAACP's special research department. He authored a great number of books, articles and essays. A socialist, in 1961 he joined the Communist Party in the United States and that same year emigrated to Ghana. There he became editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Africana. Du Bois died in Accra in 1963 at the age of 95.