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W.E.B. Du Bois` exhibit of African American history and culture at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle attracted the attention of a world of sociological scholarship whose value his work challenged. Du Bois believed that Spencerian sociologists failed in their attempts to gain greater understanding of human deeds because their work examined not deeds but theories and because they gathered data not to affect social progress but merely to theorize. In his exhibit, Du Bois sought to present cultural artifacts that would shift the focus of sociology from the construction of vast generalizations to the observation of particular, living individual elements of society and the working contributions of individual people to a vast functioning social structure.