A request from the Harvard Alumni Fund to W.E.B. Du Bois, September 9, 1899

The Sociology Department needs new chalk boards!

The Sociology Department needs new chalk-boards!

Dear Dr. DuBois,

As the fifth anniversary of your graduation from Harvard University approaches, we here at the Alumni Fund hope you will consider paying it forward to the next generation of Harvard scholars. It goes without saying that your tenure as a Harvard student was groundbreaking, as you were the first African-American student to earn a doctoral degree from this fine institution. We hope you’re not the last. But we need your help.

You did not get to this point alone. Indeed, it was alumni just like you who donated the funds necessary to provide you with scholarships that made up a portion of your tuition. Of course, they were not like you in that they were white, and from privileged backgrounds. But they were exactly like you in their love of Harvard.

Even a small pledge from each of our alumni would add up to make a big difference, Dr. DuBois. You’ve made a difference in the world of civil rights—now won’t you make a difference in the world of a needy student? Alma Mater needs you.

Sincerely,

John Burney

Alumni Committee Chair, Class of 1895

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