What Happened Here? Philadelphia Knowledge Cards
Sample Card Text
Seventh and Lombard streets, August 1896 to December 31, 1897
Answer W. E. B. Du Bois, a young black man with a PhD from Harvard and a New England accent, lived in a single room in Philadelphia’s black ghetto while researching The Philadelphia Negro, a sociological study that is also a wonderful book to read. “With my bride of three months,” he wrote, “I settled in one room over a cafeteria run by a College Settlement, in the worst part of the Seventh Ward . . . in the midst of an atmosphere of dirt, drunkenness, poverty and crime.” Brought to town by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and asked to investigate “the Negro problem,” Du Bois (1868–1963) went door to door, talking to every person in the area, from “middle classes and those above” to “vicious and criminal classes.” He determined that poverty and crime among blacks were due to environmental causes, not racial ones. Du Bois went on to become a leader of the NAACP, a professor, a prolific author and lecturer, a Pan-Africanist, and a Stalinist.