Scholar, writer, activist W.E.B. Du Bois (born in February), was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895. Du Bois is known today as the best known spokesperson for African-American rights during the first half of the 20th century. He co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
A graduate of Fisk, a historically black university in Nashville, TN, Du Bois’ most famous work, The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of 14 essays adamantly opposed the idea of biological white superiority. He assessed the fact that while black people are able to understand what life is like for people outside of and within their group, it is difficult for white people to fully understand the black experience. Du Bois proposes that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” His concepts of life behind the veil of race and the resulting “double-consciousness, a sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others,” have become the standard for thinking about race in America.
DuBois analyzed progress of race, the obstacles to that progress, and the possibilities for future racial progress of America.
On February 5, 1990, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected as the president of The Harvard Law Review, founded in 1887. Then a 28-year-old community activist out of the south side of Chicago, Obama was ready to change the face of Harvard Law forever.
I believe DuBois laid the foundation for President Obama. And The Souls of Black Folk is a clear explanation of the reality of struggles he consistently experienced for 8 years. He knew how others viewed him, and how the color of his skin and the uniqueness of his name resulted in being bullied into revealing his birth certificate. An obstacle, ironically, none of the other colorless forty-three presidents of the United States had to face.
The Harvard Law Review acquires the largest circulation of any law journal in the world. Last week, the publication announced that it had elected its 131st president, ImeIme Umana, class of 2018. She is The Harvard Law Review’s first black, female president.
According to Black Enterprise, Umana earned her bachelor’s from Harvard in African American studies and government, and is now a joint degree candidate with the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Congratulations, Imelme! Continue to sprinkle your #blackgirlmagic everywhere you go!