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Few American scholars achieved the depth and breadth of accomplishment of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois.
Born in 1868, three years after the end of the American civil war, Du Bois was the first African to receive a PhD from Harvard University.
Du Bois also studied at the University of Berlin, becoming a professor of History and Economics, and wrote 36 books and more than 4000 articles and essays. For a time he headed the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and was founding editor of its newspaper The Crisis.
After the US government refused to renew his passport, Du Bois moved in 1963 to Ghana at the invitation of President Kwame Nkrumah, where he directed work on the Encyclopedia Africana.
Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, having made a profound impact on African intellectualism globally, especially through his 1903 essay “The Talented Tenth” about the necessity of a vanguard of educated African-Americans to lead the upliftment of the entire nationality, and his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk, which described the “double-consciousness” or dual-identity of Africans in America.
Addressing WEB Du Bois’s cultural and intellectual significance, as well as perceptions of some his political or analytical shortcomings, is another giant of Africana thought, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante.
Molefi Kete Asante is a full professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. He’s the founding editor of The Journal of Black Studies, and the author of more than 300 articles. His sixty-eight books include Afrocentricity, The Encyclopedia of Black Studies, Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation, and Ancient Egyptian Philosophers.
The Utne Reader calls Asante one of the "100 Leading Thinkers" in the United States, and Asante has appeared on Nightline, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, The Today Show, The Tony Brown Show, and 60 Minutes.
The African Union cited Asante as one of the top twelve scholars of African descent when it invited him to give one of the keynote addresses at the Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora in Dakar in 2004.
He spoke on November 12, 2008 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.