As promised, this is the first in my series of African American atheist profiles for Black History Month. If there is anyone specific you want to see profiled, don't hesitate to ask. Thank you.
"The kind of sermon which is preached in most colored churches is not today attractive to even fairly intelligent men." - W.E.B. Du Bois
Born: Februrary 23, 1868 in Western Massachusetts
Vocation: Sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, pan-Africanist, author, editor - professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University
Education - Harvard Alumni, the first African American to earn a doctorate
W.E.B. Du Bois was an influential member of the early civil rights movement. Where Booker T. Washington proposed a compromise that would force Southern blacks back into slavery and white rule, it would allow them access to education, Du Bois believed in nothing less than full equality and rights. This is a concept that makes him a pinnacle figure for civil rights. As human beings, no one should accept anything less than full equality, in any circumstance.
Though not an atheist of the vocal nature of today's variety, he was outspoken against the way the black churches whirled their flock into a frenzy of evangelism instead of fighting with knowledge and rationality against the injustices they faced. In this he was showing a very enlightened view. We see this today, not only in African American churches, but in any evangelical movement, where reason and rational discourse is frowned upon in lieu of frenzied proselytization.
He's well known for his publications, such as The Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction in America. These are both prolific writings on the African American culture and fight for equality. All in all, he was a great man and a prime example that "atheists have no moral compass" is nothing more than an unadulterated lie.