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W.E.B. DuBois

            In the twentieth century, many famous black leaders made great contributions to society and civil rights. One of the most influential of this time was William Edward Burghardt DuBois. DuBois was a sociologist and author that spent his life fighting injustice and for the equality of all people.
             DuBois was born on February 23, 1868, three years after the American Civil War, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (W.E.B.). DuBois grew up in a large family that consisted of his mother, older brother, aunts, and cousins; they were called the "Burghardt clan". DuBois's father had been run off by the Burghardts, who disliked him because he had a light skinned complexion, when DuBois was only two years old (Smith & Giovanni; 196). .
             As a young child, DuBois was obedient, hard working and intelligent in school. While attending high school, DuBois helped out his mother by working odd jobs after school such as mowing lawns, selling newspapers and tea, and writing for the Springfield Republican. DuBois had an almost perfect attendance record at Great Barrington High School, where he excelled academically, out doing his white counterparts in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and history (Smith & Giovanni; 197). DuBois was the only black student in a class of 12 to attend school and was very popular with his white classmates. DuBois graduated at age 16 as class valedictorian in 1885, and gave a speech about Wendell Phillips, which was praised in the local paper. Shortly after his graduation, DuBois's principal, Frank Hosmer and minister, C.C. Painter, encouraged him to attend college. However, DuBois was orphaned and forced to fund his own college education (Hynes).
             Harvard University was DuBois's first choice, but Harvard had high admissions standards which DuBois's high school did not satisfy, and was denied. The local church, with Minister Painter and Principal Hosmer support, raised money to send DuBois to Fisk University (Smith & Giovanni; 197).

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