views updated May 29 2018

W1 / ˈdəbəlˌyoō/ (also w) • n. (pl. Wsor W's) 1. the twenty-third letter of the alphabet. ∎  denoting the next after V in a set of items, categories, etc.2. a shape like that of a letter W: [in comb.] the W-shaped northern constellation of Cassiopeia. W2 • abbr. ∎  Wales. ∎ Baseball walk (sense 3 of the noun ). ∎  warden. ∎  (in tables of sports results) games won. ∎  watt(s). ∎  Wednesday. ∎  week. ∎  (w) weight. ∎  Welsh. ∎  West or Western: 104° W W Europe. ∎  (in personal ads) White. ∎ Cricket (on scorecards) wicket(s). ∎  width: 23 in. H x 20.5 in. W x 16 in. D. ∎  (in personal ads) widowed. ∎  (in genealogies) wife. ∎  (in shortwave transmissions) with. ∎  women's (clothes size). ∎ Physics work.• symb. ∎  the chemical element tungsten.

Du Bois, W. E. B.

views updated May 18 2018

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1868–1963), civil rights leader and author.Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, W. E. B. Du Bois earned undergraduate degrees at Fisk University (1885) and Harvard (1890), and a doctorate in history from Harvard in 1895. Du Bois taught history and economics at Atlanta University in 1897–1910 and 1934–44. From 1910 to 1934, he served as founding editor of the Crisis, the official organ of the new National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

When his most influential book, The Souls of Black Folk, was published in 1903, Du Bois became the premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States and among the first thinkers to grasp the international implications of the struggle for racial justice. The problem of the twentieth century, he wrote then, was the problem of the “color‐line.”

Du Bois's legacy is complex. A severe critic of racial segregation, he still enjoined other African Americans to accept, if temporarily, the segregated units and officer training facilities of the U.S. Army in 1917–18—in the hope that wartime military service would lead to full civil rights. An elitist who emphasized the leadership role of a “talented tenth” in the liberation of black people, Du Bois moved increasingly to the Left after World War II, denouncing U.S. Cold War policies as imperialistic and espousing Communist solutions to problems of race and class. He joined the U.S. Communist Party in 1961 and spent the last two years of his life in Ghana.
[See also Civil Liberties and War; Race Relations and War.]


David Levering Lewis , W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race. Vol. 1, 1993.

David Levering Lewis