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Dunn’s Civics > Black History > Resisting the Badges of Slavery

W.E.B. Dubois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois 1868 – 1963, sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, author and editor.  

First African-American to earn a doctorate (at Harvard), professor of history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University (which he founded), and one of the co-founders of the NAACP and editor of The Crisis.

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Du Bois literary legacy.

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Jesse Washington, a 17-year old mentally handicapped African-American farmhand from Waco, Texas, was found guilty of the rape and murder of a rich middle-aged white woman in 1916. 

After the 60-minute trial (with no witnesses to his crime), the mob dragged him to a bonfire in the town square.  

They beat him with bricks, stones, and shovels, stripped away his clothing, castrated him and doused him with coal oil. 

They then chained him to a tree limb and hoisted him above the flames. 

When the boy tried to climb the hot chain the crowd cut off his fingers. 

 The back of this postcard reads: "This is the barbecue we had last night.  My picture is to the left with a cross over it.  Your son, Joe."

The back of this postcard reads: "This is the barbecue we had last night.  My picture is to the left with a cross over it.  Your son, Joe."


Du Bois included photographs of the lynching in the June 1916 issue of The Crisis, which he had founded as the official publication of the NAACP.

What triggered such cruelty and hatred in so many people?

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