African American Communist: W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963)

February 28, 2009

Black History Month Special

Part of a series on African American communists in US history.

W.E.B. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He encountered socialist ideas while he was studying in Germany, where he occasionally attended rallies of the German Social Democratic Party. A pioneer of U.S. sociology and prolific author, Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was the first editor of its journal the Crisis.

In 1961, after a lifetime of scholarship and activism, he joined the Communist Party USA, saying ‘Capitalism cannot reform itself. Communismthe effort to give all…what they need and to ask of each the best they can contributethis is the only way of human life.’

He died in Ghana, West Africa, where he had moved to work on the Encyclopedia Africana. His death was announced from the podium at the March on Washington where Dr. King made his historic ‘I have a dream’ speech.

For more information: 100th anniversary of The Souls of Black Folk

For more information: Application for membership in the CPUSA by W.E.B.DuBois

(Compiled by Kevin Lindemann)


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