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The Web Dubois' View on Segregation and Social Activism

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Gun-related violence in schools is a pervasive issue and has greatly increased in recent years, although school shootings have occurred since our country was being formed. The earliest known school shooting in the United States took place in 1764 and was known as the Pontiac Rebellion School Massacre; out of 13 children enrolled in the school, only three survived (Dixon, 2005)W.E.B. DuBois was born in Great Barrington Massachusetts 1868. He graduated from Barrington Massachusetts high school in 1884. Soon after that, DuBois went to college in Cambridge Massachusetts until 1892 when he moved to Germany to receive more education. Afterwards he taught in Ohio. It was here that he met his wife and they got married in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Afterwards he studied more in Philadelphia as well as taught in Atlanta. He was then convinced to teach summer school at Tuskegee Alabama in 1903 once (Holt, 2008). In 1903 he left Atlanta to join the NAACP in New York where he stayed for a while. He visited Liberia in 1923 as well as the Soviet Union in 1926 for conferences. Once again he returned to Atlanta University to serve as the chair of the Sociology department in 1934 for ten years until 1944 when he went back to the NAACP. In 1958, after a brief period when he wasn’t allowed to travel with his passport, DuBois traveled to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Moscow and then returned home. In 1961 He lived in Ghana where he eventually became a citizen until his death in 1963 (Holt, 2008).

After DuBois graduated from highschool he received scholarships through the mentorship and the help of his principal, Frank Hosmer, allowing him to go to the prestigious Fisk University (Holt, 2008). At fisk he learned about African culture in America which is said to have helped him develop his sense of cultural pride (Rucker, 2002). He also had experiences teaching during the summers of 1886-1887 at Tuskegee. After his schooling at Fisk, applied to Harverd and got his BA in 1890, his MA in 1891, and his PhD in 1895 in history. During this time DuBois became good friends with Albert Bushnell Hart and Wiliam James, who became his professional mentors as well. Dubois continued his education in Germany at Friedrich-Wilhelm III Universitat, but unfortunately was not able to complete his economics degree formally there due to residency issues. (Holt, 2008).

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DuBois initially believed in the initiation of black nationalism, but then slowly gravitated to equal education and treatment for all as well returning to his theories on black national nationalism later on in his life. He stated that he wanted to “make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows….’ (Rucker 2002). Much of his life he also argued about issues with White supremacy, European imperialism, and the continuing loss of dignity for Africans (Rucker, 2002). DuBois wanted to prepare African Americans to be ready for when segregation was no more, for he saw that coming in the future. As stated by Johnson “DuBois called upon Blacks to take advantage of every opportunity to be the intellectual and moral equals of whites so that when the walls of segregation finally came down, blacks would be in a position to compete successfully for positions throughout the social system. DuBois, a humanist, believed that educa- tion must be more complex than a simplistic focus only on societal and individual economic interests” (Johnson, 2000).

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