Name: W. E. B DuBois
Basics: He was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard and helped to co-find the NAACP. DuBois was very vocal about the need for African-American’s to have equal rights across the board and did not buy into Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise. DuBois spoke of the “talented tenth” in which he proposed that only a certain number of African-Americans would become leaders in their communities. A large supporter of Pan-Africanism, he worked to free several African colonies from European powers. He died a day before MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Why I Chose Him: One thing I have talked about with black people who are conscious of our issues and problems is that we’re not going to be able to save everyone. And what I mean by that is that not everyone is going to want to improve our station. Everyone is not going to want to rise above the numbers. I think DuBois understood that. We can’t save everyone, but we can work together with those who want to see our community do better and let our collective effort speak for itself.