Dept. of Education Butchers Spelling of W.E.B. DuBois, Then Misspells an Apology, Too

W.E.B. DuBois, a noted historian, civil rights leader, and co-founder of the NAACP.

The Department of Education was the laughingstock of social media Sunday, Feb. 12, after publishing a tweet that misspelled the name of author and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. To make matters worse, the department followed up the major faux pas with an error-laden apology tweet.

While attempting to quote the late African-American historian, the DOE mistakenly spelled his last name “DeBois” —  a close resemblance to the last name of newly elected Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. DeVos’ appointment as the new governess of U.S. education, which almost didn’t happen had it not been for a historic tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence last week, was widely contested due to her limited experience in the public education system.

The DOE’s “DuBois” error remained unaddressed for nearly four hours before the department caught it and issued an apology via Twitter. But, the apology tweet wasn’t well received, as it too contained a spelling error.

“Our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo,” the original apology tweet read before a second one was published.

Although the agency was quick to correct its second mistake, the damage had already been done.

The NAACP, which DuBois co-founded in 1909, was quick to mock the DOE for its mistake, tweeting, ” ‘In The Days of Loose and Careless Logic, We Must Teach Thinkers to THINK’ – William Edward Burghardt DU Bois.’ ”

Other critics saw the typo as a foreshadowing of what would become of the department with an inexperienced leader like DeVos at the helm.

Some highlighted the irony of the DOE’s misspelling of the noted civil rights leader’s name during Black History Month.

Still, others were simply appalled that the Department of EDUCATION tweeted a misspelling in the first place – especially a tweet that featured an attributed quote from a noted icon like DuBois.

The DOE faux pas comes just weeks after President Donald Trump left many wondering if he really knew who Frederick Douglass was after questionable remarks he made about the writer and abolitionist during a Black History Month meeting at the White House. VP Pence also commemorated the start of BHM with a cringe-worthy tweet noting the accomplishments of former President Abraham Lincoln.

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