Called a militant and a rebel because he asked the question “Am I an American or am I a Negro? Can I be both?”, at a time when black men did not question white men, his ideas shaped the civil rights movement.

W.E.B. Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He believed the intellectual and cultural potential of Black Americans was hampered by America’s racially biased social, economic, and political systems.  Gradually, he comes to abandon his academic career, leaving social science for more mainstream and artistic means of fighting for racial equality. Du Bois fought for empowerment through education, the urgency of the right to vote and for a leadership class devoted to ‘the race.’  His remarkable life spans nearly a century — from his birth just five years after the Emancipation Proclamation to his death on the eve of the 1963 March on Washington. The film will weave his biography through time, from the collapse of Reconstruction through two World Wars to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Using contemporary and archival media, art, graphic design, music and a mix of voices, please support Du Bois’s brilliant activism and lasting legacy.

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A co-production of RCW Media and American Masters Pictures in association with the Center for Independent Documentary. Major funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.