W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963
By David Levering Lewis
Before I read this, I knew enough to tell you that W.E.B. Du Bois was an elitist, that he believed there was a "talented tenth" of African-Americans whose job it was to lead. I knew little beyond what high school textbooks—which all but ignored black history—bothered to tell. Because Du Bois was the founding editor of The Crisis (the NAACP's monthly magazine) for many years and wrote so much, Lewis had a treasure trove of information to draw from. The result is a fascinating, more human retelling of W.E.B. Du Bois's life than you would get from a history book. This warts-and-all biography showed me so much that I was ashamed I didn't already know.