An early civil rights activist, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois also was a sociologist, author, editor, and historian. Soon after being awarded a doctorate from Harvard University, in 1897 he began writing about the sociology of crime. Du Bois was a contemporary of Booker T. Washington and engaged in dialogue with him relative to political disfranchisement, improving African-American life, and segregation. In 1909, he was part of a group that founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He left his academic work in Atlanta the following year manage the publication of the new organization. He edited the principal NAACP publication for a quarter century.