DuBois, was written in an era of mass deprivation of human rights for the African-American people. DuBois was a social activist and intellectual who believed black Americans should have the same opportunities as all Americans for academic excellence in all fields, and that racial discrimination should be ended.

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line." .

By definition, the color-line is the physical separation of the races in public and private life. However, the color-line extended far beyond that of the conventional meaning. This is displayed in one of the most poignant essays in this work, entitled Of the Passing of the First-Born. In this chapter, DuBois speaks in detail about the birth and subsequent death of his first-born son. Here, DuBois vaguely implies that he could find no physician to treat his son:.

"Out in the starlight I crept, to rouse the gray physician, -.

The Shadow of Death, the Shadow of Death The hours trembled on Then we two alone looked upon the child-.

Further research on the matter exposed that not only was a black physician not available, that no white physician was willing to treat his son:.

"Although Burghardt Du Bois, infant son of William and Nina, succumbed to a disease (diphtheria), his father was unable, in the child's critical hours, to find either a black physician to attend his dying son or a white physician in Atlanta who was willing to treat a black child. Occasionally Du Bois writes as if he is somehow beyond or above the veil, but the sad reality of his son's death and its tragic circumstance undercuts this posture."(1).

Why did the color-line rear its ugly head when it came to treating a dying child? This brought an even wider characterization to the term "color-line". It was not .

(1) http://www.harvardcomputer.com/test/harvard/The_Book/Introduction1/Introduction22/introduction22.htm.

simply about one's ability to move freely within public places, or where one could and could not receive an education.