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W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research on African-American communities and culture broke ground in many areas, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Du Bois was also a prolific author of novels, autobiographical accounts, innumerable editorials and journalistic pieces, and several works of history.
Published in 1924 in response to growing racial tensions, W. E. B. Du Bois's The Gift of Black Folk explores the contributions African Americans have made to American society, detailing the importance of racial diversity to the United States. Writing for a general audience, Du Bois employs a sweeping scope for his argument, covering the European discovery of America to the twentieth century. In doing so he works to prove that through African Americans' struggle for freedom and equality, they have most fully realized the goal of democracy. With a series introduction by editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an introduction by Glenda Carpio, this edition is essential for anyone interested in African American history.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He has edited several major reference works, including Dictionary of African Biography, African American Lives,Africana, and African American National Biography. In addition, he is Editor in Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center (www.oxfordaasc.com).