W. E. B. Du Bois was the first African-American to receive a PhD from Harvard, co-founded the NAACP, and supported African-American civil rights as their most well-known spokesman in the early 20th century. He was born on Feb. 23, 1868.
Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. His full name at birth was William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. After attending white schools for his early education, he enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and encountered Jim Crow laws.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from Fisk University, he transferred to Harvard for graduate work. He paid for Harvard with money from a summer job, scholarships and money borrowed from friends. As a study-abroad student at the University of Berlin, he encountered new ways of viewing racism and ways to combat it.
He wrote many books, including "The Philadelphia Negro: A Case Study" and "The Souls of Black Folks." In 1909, he co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He supported the Pan-African movement. The Pan-African movement wanted to free the African states from the colonial rule of European nations. Du Bois died on Aug. 27, 1963 while in Ghana, working on an encyclopedia of the African diaspora.