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But teachers recognized his ability and encouraged his intellectual pursuits, and his rewarding experience with academic studies led him to believe that he could use his knowledge to empower African Americans.Du Bois graduated from the town's Searles High School.It may have been Freeman's daughter, Betsy Humphrey, who married Burghardt after her first husband, Jonah Humphrey, left the area "around 1811", and after Burghardt's first wife died ( Mary Burghardt Du Bois moved with her son back to her parents' house in Great Barrington until he was five.She worked to support her family (receiving some assistance from her brother and neighbors), until she suffered a stroke in the early 1880s. Great Barrington had a majority European American community, who treated Du Bois generally well.When Du Bois decided to attend college, the congregation of his childhood church, the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, raised the money for his tuition.His travel to and residency in the South was Du Bois's first experience with Southern racism, which at the time encompassed Jim Crow laws, bigotry, suppression of black voting, and lynchings; the lattermost reached a peak in the next decade.Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite.

Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities.

Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Du Bois rose to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks.

He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face." He performed sociological field research in Philadelphia's African-American neighborhoods, research which formed the foundation for his landmark study, The Philadelphia Negro, published in 1899 while he was teaching at Atlanta University.

It was the first case study of a black community in the United States.

Tom briefly served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, which may have been how he gained his freedom during the 18th century.

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