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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers W.E.B. Du Bois
Drawing of African Americans voting, 1867
African Americans gained the right to vote shortly after the Civil War

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W.E.B. Du Bois, Growing Up
William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois (pronounced "do-boys") grew up to become a pioneer in the civil rights movement. One might say that he had perfect timing. He was born three years after the end of the Civil War, during the period known as Reconstruction, when the once divided country was trying to rebuild. The 14th Amendment in 1868 gave national citizenship to former slaves, and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote in 1870. Yet, just because these amendments were the laws of the land did not mean that all citizens abided by them.
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