Howard Fast was born on November 11, 1914 in Manhattan. At the age of 17, he sold his first story to Amazing Stories magazine. The next year he sold his first novel, Two Villages, to the Dial Press for a $100 advance. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 80 books, including Conceived in Liberty, The Unvanquished, Citizen Tom Paine, Freedom Road, April Morning, The Immigrants, Second Generation, The Establishment, The Legacy, and Greenwich. He won the Stalin International Peace Prize in 1953. A member of the Communist party, he served three months in a federal prison in 1950 for refusing to testify about his political activity. Blacklisted as a result, he founded his own publishing house, Blue Heron Press, which released his novel Spartacus in 1951. In 1957, he wrote a book about his political experiences entitled The Naked God. He also wrote a series of detective stories under the name E. V. Cunningham. He died on March 12, 2003 at the age of 88.
Eric Foner is a professor of American history at Columbia University.
Civil rights leader and author, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on February 23, 1868. He earned a B.A. from both Harvard and Fisk universities, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard, and studied at the University of Berlin. He taught briefly at Wilberforce University before he came professor of history and economics at Atlanta University in Ohio (1896-1910). There, he wrote The Souls of Black Folk (1903), in which he pointed out that it was up to whites and blacks jointly to solve the problems created by the denial of civil rights to blacks. In 1905, Du Bois became a major figure in the Niagara Movement, a crusading effort to end discrimination. The organization collapsed, but it prepared the way for the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in which Du Bois played a major role. In 1910, he became editor of the NAACP magazine, a position he held for more than 20 years. Du Bois returned to Atlanta University in 1932 and tried to implement a plan to make the Negro Land Grant Colleges centers of black power. Atlanta approved of his idea, but later retracted its support. When Du Bois tried to return to NAACP, it rejected him too. Active in several Pan-African Congresses, Du Bois came to know Fwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, and Jono Kenyatta the president of Kenya. In 1961, the same year Du Bois joined the Communist party, Nkrumah invited him to Ghana as a director of an Encyclopedia Africana project. He died there on Aug. 27, 1963, after becoming a citizen of that country.