• Sun beginning to set at Harpers Ferry, as seen from Maryland Heights. Photo by NPS Volunteer Buddy Secor.

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Change in Park Hours

    The park is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 6:45 p.m. More »

W E B Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois, circa 1907

Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois broke new ground on many frontiers in his remarkable and controversial life. Du Bois earned the first Harvard doctorate awarded to an African American. During a prolific career of writing and publication, including sixteen thought-provoking books on sociology, history, politics, and race relations, Du Bois became the principal architect of the civil rights movement in the United States. He perceptively said, “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.”

Du Bois’ connection to Harpers Ferry began in Canada in 1905, when he became the leader of an elite group of African Americans known as the Niagara Movement. The formation of this group marked the beginning of Du Bois’ public assault on racial discrimination. The next year the Niagara Movement met on the campus of Storer College in Harpers Ferry. Du Bois referred to the 1906 gathering as “one of the greatest meetings American Negroes ever held.” Du Bois returned to Harpers Ferry 44 years later as the commencement speaker for the 1950 graduating class of Storer College.

The Niagara Movement

Did You Know?

Today the John Brown Fort is across the street from its original location.

John Brown's Fort has been moved 4 times: in 1891 to Chicago to the World's Columbian Exposition, in 1895 to the Murphy Farm near Harpers Ferry, in 1909 to Storer College Campus and in 1968 to its present location.