On February 23, 1868, WEB Du Bois was born poor in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, but rose from his meager roots to become the brightest black mind in the 20th century. In 1895, he became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Du Bois was a pioneer in sociology, history and anthropology. He was also a scholar, educator, writer, editor and orator.
His uncompromising opposition to injustice and Jim Crow made him, in 1905, start the Niagara Movement, a group of pioneering African-American scholars and leaders who were advocates of civil justice and worked to end discrimination. That organization would eventually become the NAACP. As one of the founders, Du Bois also served as the organization's director of publications and editor of the Crisis magazine until 1934.
One of his most often quoted philosophies was, "the talented tenth." It said that blacks' salvation would come through the accomplishments of the elite.