Born just five years after the abolition of slavery, W. E. B. Du Bois died the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his...

Born just five years after the abolition of slavery, W. E. B. Du Bois died the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington in 1963. In the many decades between, W. E. B. Du Bois contributed as much to the political and social advancement of African Americans as any other figure in history.

W. E. B. Du Bois: Revolutionary Across the Color Line (Pluto Press, 2016) offers an accessible and brief introduction to the life and times of W. E. B. Du Bois. It takes in his many achievements, such as being the first black man to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University and co-founding the NAACP, and sets them alongside the seismic political changes of the twentieth century many of which Du Bois weighed in on, including anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles across Asia and Africa.

The author reveals a Du Bois who was focused not just on the immediate question of African American rights, but also took up the question of socialism, the rise of communism, and the complicated interrelationship of capitalism, poverty, and racism. The picture that emerges here is of a powerfully original thinker, fiercely engaged with the political, economic, and social questions of his day never letting up in his struggle to change the world for the better.

Dr. Bill V. Mullen is a professor of American Studies at Purdue University, and teaches courses in African American Literature and Culture, American Studies, Working-Class Literature, Cultural Studies, and Postcolonial Literature. His previous written works include Afro-Orientalism, Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics 1935-1946 and Un-American: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Century of World Revolution. In addition to his current tenure at Purdue University, Dr. Mullen also has been a Fulbright lecturer at Wuhan University in the Peoples Republic of China.


James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.

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