Social Justice Primer: W.E.B. DuBois Across the Centuries


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Nearly a century before multiculturalism, cultural diversity and social justice education became academic buzzwords, W.E.B. Du Bois laid the foundation for critical thought regarding race, self-consciousness, and liberty. Du Bois was centrally located in an agenda to eradicate the many forms of social oppression that continue into the twenty-first century. He heralded a time when all African-Americans and other disenfranchised groups, past and present, would have a sense of their own agency and social responsibility to succeeding generations. Byerman (13) concludes that DuBois “shifts ground...on the recognition of how difference and sameness together create the largest human possibilities.” The shifting of ground—for good or for evil—is a Herculean task within classroom walls and it is not yet finished. The Souls of Black Folk, his seminal work and political text that recently marked its 100th anniversary of its first publication, is important to any foray into the core meaning of race and its social ambiguities, as well as its social realities.


Resource Type(s):
Simona Hill, Susquehanna University 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Social Change 
Class Level:
Any Level 
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Critical Pedagogy in the Classroom - Module 6.pdf