Du Bois was born in 1868, the year that Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg had its debut: he died in 1963, when “Surfin’ U.S.A.” was on the charts. His longevity gives us, I think, a sense that he is more modern than he really was. It can be startling to realize, for example, that when Khruschev gave him the Lenin Prize in 1959, Du Bois was being honored in the name of a man two years his junior.
That is from Kwame Anthony Appiah, Lines of Descent: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity.