Celebrating Black History Month: Wiliam Edward Burghardt Washington

"I believe in Liberty for all men; the space to stretch their arms and their souls;
the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends,
enjoy the sunshine and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking,
dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of God and love."

The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Reading Comprehension: W. E. B. Du Bois and the NAACP (Advanced)
In 1905, Du Bois organized the Niagara Movement. The Niagara Movement demanded "full manhood rights" for black people. It was a forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Du Bois helped to form the NAACP in 1909. The NAACP began as a joint effort of black and white leaders. It was founded to protest abuses black citizens were suffering and to seek equal rights for them.

In 1910, Du Bois established The Crisis. He edited the magazine for 24 years. The Crisis is the official publication of the NAACP. It is still published today.

Many scholars believe that Du Bois's writings in The Crisis were the main reason the NAACP grew so rapidly. Du Bois wrote to stir emotions. He wanted both black and white readers to react with outrage over the injustices of black life in the United States. Du Bois's writings elicited strong reactions from critics of all races. Most notable was the response of Booker T. Washington, who called Du Bois a "social agitator" because of his controversial articles.

Besides drawing attention to the problems African-Americans faced, Du Bois also used The Crisis to promote gifted African-American writers. The magazine featured short stories and poems written by African-Americans. It also featured African-American novelists, artists, and musicians. Thus, it became a leading force behind the Harlem Renaissance.

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Comprehension Questions

For Discussion . . .

For Further Study . . .
Visit the home page of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Look for answers to the following questions:

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