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The W.E.B. Du Bois Award


The William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) DuBois Award was established by the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists in 1970.  Introduced by James E. Conyers, ASBS President, it was initiated to honor an outstanding social or behavioral scientist or civic leader who is credited for making a significant contribution to the greater knowledge and understanding of African-Americans. Thus, award recipients include prominent scholars, government officials, and civic leaders whose contributions reflect the prolific scholarly and political contributions of W.E.B. DuBois.


DuBois was an innovative, creative, and original thinking scholar who participated in the early meetings of the Conference of Teachers of Social Science in Negro Colleges, ASBS’s predecessor.  His early participation and subsequent appearances in later years were part of his dedication to an intellectual life which spanned several generations.


In his interdisciplinary, scholarly publications, DuBois examined critical themes in African-American life.  Four of his books – The Souls of Black Folk, Black Reconstruction, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade, and The Philadelphia Negro; the Atlanta University research series; and his editorship of Phylon Magazine provided the American scholarly community with a different perspective on the socioeconomic and political conditions of African-Americans.  In his discussion of The Philadelphia Negro, David Levering Lewis stated that "DuBois’ scholarly writings carried the vivid narrative power that other urban studies would lack until . . . more than thirty years in the future."


In addition to his scholarly research, DuBois was an advocate for civil rights in America and abroad. He participated in the first Pan-African Congress which focused on the impact of colonialism on the African continent.  As editor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s official organ, The Crisis, DuBois promoted improved race relations through editorials which attacked every aspect of segregation in America.  The life of W. E. B. DuBois as a scholar-activist provides an inspiring example for young scholars.  Since the inception of the prestigious W. E. B. DuBois Award, it has been bestowed upon 40 prominent citizens from across the nation.

Past W.E.B. DuBois Award Recipients

1970 – Oliver C. Cox
1971 – Lewis Wade Jones
1972 – Horace Mann Bond
1973 – Charles U. Smith

1974 – Vivian Henderson

1975 – Elizabeth Duncan Koontz

1976 – John Griffin
1977 – Vincent Harding
1978 – Clarence Bacote
1979 – Parren Mitchell
1980 – Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson
1981 – James E. Conyers
1982 – Margaret Walker Alexander
1983 – Robert Lewis Gill

1984 – Marguerite R. Howie

1985 – George Breathett

1986 – Delores P. Aldridge

1987 – Michael Espy
1988 – Joseph B. Johnson

1989 – Alton Hornsby Jr.

1990 – John Moland Jr.

1991 – Lena Wright Myers
1992 – Eldridge W. McMillan
1993 – Butler A. Jones
1994 – Gordon Daniel Morgan
1995 – Frederick S. Humphries
1996 – Dorothy Cowser Yancy
1997 – James A. Hefner

1998 – John Lewis

1999 – Samuel DuBois Cook

2000 - Bennie G. Thompson
2001 - La Francis Rodgers-Rose
2002 - Henry E. Frye

2003 - Catherine Meeks

2004 - Lerone Bennett Jr.

2005 - Matthew Kennedy
2006 - Constance Slaughter-Harvey
2007 - Xernona Clayton
2008 - Alma S. Adams

2009 - Donnie D. Bellamy
2010 - Alton Thompson

2011 - Leslie Burl McLemore

2012 - Reavis L. Mitchell, Jr.

2013 - William L. Mallory, Sr.

2014 - Bernard LaFayette

2015 - Patricia Timmons-Goodson

2016 - Percy Watson

2017 - Beverly L. Wright

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