W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was an African-American writer, historian, educator, and civil rights activist. During his life, Du Bois published thousands of articles, essays, and books, most of them on the topic of race relations in America. He also helped found the Niagara Movement in 1905 and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Under his leadership, both organizations worked to improve the lives of African-Americans and fought for equal rights for people of all races. Du Bois died in 1963 at the age of 95, one day before civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington.
W. E. B. Du Bois's best-known work is still his collection of autobiographical essays entitled The Souls of Black Folk (1903). Du Bois penned the book after spending years living and teaching in the Jim Crow South. His reflections on race relations in the post-Civil War South and his sharp critique of Booker T. Washington remain some of the most powerful pages written about this period in American history. Yet, in the early twentieth century, it was Washington's moderate stance on race relations, and not Du Bois's radical activism, that won the support of the vast majority of African-Americans.