William Edward Burghardt DuBois also known as W.B was born on February 23,1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Some would call Great Barrington a small community with only about 5,000 inhabitants. Now if you think 5,000 is small imagine how many of those inhabitants were black. Only 25 to 50, that's right only 25 to 50. With such a small population of blacks how do you think DuBois felt? Well not as bad as you think, this northern city didn't have near as much problems as most southern communities. .
DuBois was the only child of Alfred and Mary DuBois. At the time of his birth his parent's relationship was already on the rocks but it was reparable. From a young age his parents tried their best to instill good moral values in him; these values stayed with him for the rest of his life, but I"ll get into that later. DuBois worked very hard in school and it shows in his records, but even in school and in the north he still encountered some forms of racism. DuBois reflected on his life in his personal memories and he remembered time and time again where white kids as well as blacks poked fun at his skin color because he was lighter then most blacks but darker then whites. DuBois was often mistaken for Italian and a lot of other dark European types, but he was raised by parents who insisted that he didn't try to pass. Even though it was insisted that he shouldn't pass he other lighter family members who did. Now for the ones who knew of his African ancestry it was a different story, he was the butt of jokes, and harassed by the small amount of extremely racist anti-blacks; the kind of racist you rarely see in Massachusetts. This torment was ongoing and it mutilated the outgoing personality of young William. This torment didn't keep DuBois down for long because he realized that it was much worse for the southern Negro. DuBois was really getting stronger and he was also finding non-violent ways to resolve his conflicts with the other children, he later became friends with most of them.