Department of Sociology :
Foundations of African-American Sociology


W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963)

W. E. B. DuBois was a prolific writer and active scholar who was known for works such as The Philadelphia Negro and The Souls of Black Folk. He was the first black to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University and began his sociological career with the study of the Philadelphia African-American community in 1896. In The Philadelphia Negro, he provided a systematic study of communities and American society. Much of DuBois' life was devoted to social justice and improvements in race relations both in Africa and the United States.

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)

Anna Julia Cooper, sometimes called the mother of Black Feminism, was a teacher dedicated to the struggle for black liberation and moral progress. Her work, A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South provided a social analysis of the plight of black women and examined race and gender issues in America. In most of her writings, she emphasized the belief that educated black women would change the world.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston's fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled through her four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays. She is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and her other works such as Jonah's Gourd Vine; Seraph on the Suwanee; Moses, Man of the Mountain; and Every Tounge Got to Confess.

From: African American Contributions to Sociology by Melvin Barber, Leslie Inniss, and Emmit Hunt