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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers W.E.B. Du Bois
Great Barrington, Mass. in 1937
W.E.B. Du Bois grew up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts

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W.E.B. Du Bois, Growing Up
W.E.B. Du Bois's mother was a domestic worker and his father was a barber. His father left the family when William was still very young. Young William was born and raised in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where he received encouragement from teachers in the local high school. When his mother died in 1884, Du Bois was 16 years old and penniless. To make ends meet, he worked as a timekeeper in a local mill. Amazingly, that same year he managed to become the first African American to graduate from his high school. Du Bois went on to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, for three years and then went on to earn his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
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