Freethought Almanac

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February 23: W.E.B. Du Bois (1868)

It was on this date, February 23, 1868, U.S. historian and black civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, author of “The Souls of Black Folk,” was born. Du Bois also helped to create and guide the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). About his religious beliefs, Du Bois wrote, “In Germany I became a freethinker and when I came to teach at an orthodox Methodist Negro school I was soon regarded with suspicion, especially when I refused to lead the students in public prayer. … I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my thirtieth year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor, and war.”

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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer




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