DuBois once stated, "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." This statement summarizes a significant issue that most African Americans recognized and sought to change during this era. Although these leaders recognized that there was a problem, they strongly disagreed in their solutions to solving this problem. For example, both W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington were powerful political figures that left a great impact during this time of African American oppression in the twentieth century, but the only thing they agreed on was that there was a problem. However, both men left behind a legacy that contributed in paving the way for equal opportunity for African Americans today.
W. E. B. DuBois was born on February 23, 1968 to a prominent black family. He was born and raised in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a place where social and.
economic activities were reinforced by "primary democracy"- all of its citizens had a right to be heard. Because he grew up in this kind of environment, DuBois had no firsthand experience of unequal conditions of blacks before he went south to Fisk University in 1885. After graduating from Fisk, DuBois attended Harvard University and earned his second Bachelor's Degree in philosophy and a Master's in history. The new social science of his time was based on seeking truth of human history through an examination of historical documents; therefore DuBois adopted this new method and as a researcher, conducted many studies including one on the urbanization of blacks in the North (The Philadelphia Negro) and the organization of blacks in the South (The Atlanta University Publications). It was through studies such as these, as well as his own experience in the south that motivated DuBois to take his work and studies to another level.
In the summer of 1905 DuBois founded an organization entitled the Niagara Movement. Twenty-nine prominent blacks met secretly at Niagara Falls, Ontario and drew up an objective calling for full civil liberties, abolition of racial discrimination and recognition of human brotherhood.