News and Events
Du Bois Center Announces New Director
Associate professor of anthropology Whitney Battle-Baptiste has been appointed Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Battle-Baptiste is a historical archaeologist who focuses on the intersection of race, class, and gender in the shaping of cultural landscapes across the African Diaspora. Her theoretical interests include Black Feminist theory, African American material and expressive culture, and critical heritage studies. Her work includes historic sites as varied as the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee; Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia; the Abiel Smith School in Boston, Massachusetts; and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Du Bois Center Open House
“The Relevance of Du Bois in a Post-Ferguson America"
Monday, February 23, 2015, 10-noon
Room 2202, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst
Meet Whitney Battle Baptiste, new director of the Du Bois Center, and learn about the Center’s vision and work.
21st Annual Du Bois Birthday Lecture
Monday, February 23, 2015, 4:00 p.m.
Student Union Ballroom, UMass Amherst
Scholar and Historian David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis is a leading American scholar, a pioneer in African American history, and a cultural ambassador of broad and keen intellectual reach. Lewis is the Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University. His two volumes on the life of W.E.B. Du Bois, each of which earned him a Pulitzer Prize, set a standard for academic biography. In addition to his essential work on Du Bois, Lewis has written on a range of subjects examining questions and problems of race, justice, and the exercise of power. Special Collections and University Archives are honored to hold the Papers of David Levering Lewis.
"W.E.B. Du Bois: A Man For All Times"
Fifth Annual Du Bois Tribute
Sunday, February 22, 2015, 3:00 p.m.
St John's Congregational Church
45 Union St., Springfield, MA
“W.E.B. Du Bois: A Man for All Times” performed by Pulse Ensemble Theatre
Free, one-hour one-man show of the 95-year-long life of W.E.B. Du Bois unfolds in a gripping performance by Brian Richardson, and a moving script by writer/director Alexa Kelly. Learn more about Great Barrington’s native son, civil rights leader, and visionary of equality and democracy.
Book launch & film premiere of Du Bois in Our Time
Thursday, November 6, 2014, 4:30 p.m., W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Room 2601
The University Museum of Contemporary Art, the UMass Amherst Libraries, and UMass Press invite you to celebrate a book launch and film premiere. The newly released book, Du Bois in Our Time, is the capstone of the University Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition by the same name - celebrating the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and his relevance in the 21st century through the lens of contemporary artists. The book includes scholarly essays by Johnnetta Cole, James T. Campbell, Reiland Rabaka, and Bill Strickland. Cost: $40. Distributed by UMass Press. Copies will be available for purchase at the event. The 30-minute documentary, Du Bois in Our Time, by filmmaker Lynda B. Kaplan of the American History Workshop, follows the ten artists over the course of a year as they prepared their work for the exhibition. The Book Launch and Film Screening event is free and open to the public.
For more information regarding the museum exhibit on which the film is based, please click on this link: (Please note that this exhibit took place in 2013 and is no longer installed.):https://fac.umass.edu/UMCA/Online/DuBoisInOurTime
Walk In the Footsteps of Du Bois
Walking tour, interpretive trail, and public talk illuminate Du Bois in Great Barrington
The Honorable Byron Rushing will be the keynote speaker at a celebration of the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In the Footsteps of Du Bois is a day-long series of events culminating in a public program featuring Rushing, who will reflect on Du Bois’s significance today. A reception follows.
In the Footsteps of Du Bois appropriately begins with a walking tour in downtown Great Barrington at 10 am. The public is invited to join local historian Bernard A. Drew in viewing buildings that stood during Du Bois’s day and learning of his routines and friends. The tour will begin at the Du Bois Birth site (National Historic Landmark sign) at the end of Church Street in downtown Great Barrington. Parking is available near the River Walk.
At noon, the public is invited to attend a headstone dedication to commemorate the final resting place of W.E.B. Du Bois’s daughter, Yolande Du Bois Williams, at the Mahaiwe Cemetery on Main Street. The event will include remarks by the great-grandson of Du Bois, Arthur McFarlane II. More information
2013 marked significant anniversaries that will be commemorated at UMass Amherst:
January 1st marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
August 27th marks the 50th Anniversary of the passing of W.E.B. Du Bois
2013: 110th Anniversary of the publication of The Souls of Black Folk
2013: 40th Anniversary of the completion of the Du Bois Library building
Du Bois in Our Time
September 27-28, 2013 (Fine Arts Center, UMass Amherst)
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passing of W.E.B. Du Bois and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, artists and scholars gathered at UMass Amherst in September, 2013, to dialog about Du Bois in preparation for a major modern art exhibition and symposium on campus next fall at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA), “Du Bois in Our Time. “ The project brings world-renowned scholars and artists together in conversation to broaden our understanding of Du Bois’ continued influence on the issues of our time, such as social justice; women’s rights; higher education; the arts, race and identity; environmentalism; and political action. Du Bois in Our Time website
Du Bois Library Fellowship Awards
As part of the Du Bois Center’s mission to support scholarship emanating from the life and teachings of W.E.B. Du Bois, the UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the 2013 Fellowship recipients Horace D. Ballard Jr, Emahunn Raheem Ali Campbell '16G, and Daniel Chard '11G, '17G. Learn more about these scholars, their work and the Du Bois Fellowships.
What's New in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA)?
SCUA is constantly adding new material to their digital repository, CREDO. This summer, the entire Horace Mann Bond collection of photographs, correspondence, and subject files from his time as a professor at Fisk University to his tenure as president of Lincoln University will be available digitally for the first time, thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. In addition, new correspondence, speeches, poetry, pageants, plays, fables and pamphlets from our Du Bois Collection will continue to be uploaded to CREDO.
Du Bois Center Profiles: Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis is a 2nd year doctoral student in the political science department at UMass Amherst, where she works on black political thought, comparative blackness and diaspora studies, and issues related to identity, subjectivity, and difference both historically and today. Her work has largely been inspired and influenced by the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, among other leading black intellectuals, whose interdisciplinary outlook on scholarship motivates Davis to continually work to expand the boundaries of what is deemed political by incorporating art, literature, and culture into her analyses. She has been working with the Du Bois Center for a year. Contact Samantha
Spring Semester 2013
The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois: Its Relevance to Today
19th Annual Du Bois Lecture
Guest speaker: Arthur McFarlane II
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 4pm, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 10am, St. John's Congregational Church, 643 Union St., Springfield, MA
Arthur McFarlane II, W.E.B. Du Bois’s great grandson, has spent most of his life working in public health with the Colorado Department of Heath and Environment where he focuses on health disparities. McFarlane tours extensively giving talks on Du Bois’s legacy and its impact on society today.
He went to Stuyvesant High School in New York City, the State University of New York at Brockport, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has served as co-chair for the CDPHE Employee Diversity Advisory Committee and as treasurer for the Colorado Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Coalition. He has been co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program and Chair of the Board of the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Assault. Press release
“The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Tribute to the Black Church”
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 3:00 pm
St. John’s Congregational Church
643 Union Street, Springfield, Massachusetts
The program will feature musical tributes, dramatizations, and lyrical dance. “This year our focus is on ‘A Celebration of Freedom’,” said Brooks Fitch, chairman of the annual event. “Dr. Du Bois’ story rests in the historical timeline between the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the infamous Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.” Historians have found evidence that Du Bois had several connections to Springfield, including St. John’s Congregational Church and one of its former pastors, Dr. William DeBerry.
The University of Massachusetts Press has published a new edition of The World of W.E.B. Du Bois edited by former UMass Amherst professor and former director of the Horace Mann Bond Center for Equal Education and UMass Amherst, Meyer Weinberg. The book includes more than 1,000 quotations from Du Bois’s published writings and correspondence. More information
Exhibit: “Waging Change: The Greensboro Justice Fund”
On exhibit through January 11, 2013, in the Special Collections Reading Room, Floor 25, Du Bois Library, the exhibit celebrates the opening of the Greensboro Justice Fund Records, which were donated to the UMass Amherst Libraries, and includes selections from the collection that document the Greensboro Massacre, its aftermath, and the lasting role of the Greensboro Justice Fund in supporting social justice at the grassroots. More information
“Creating Community, Cultivating Citizens, and Interrogating Jim Crow: The Political Thought of Booker T. Washington”
This year’s Du Bois Fellow, Desmond Jagmohan, presented his research. “Historians have been devastating to [Washington’s] legacy,” says Jagmohan, which has led to a misreading of Washington. By exploring the relationship between Du Bois and Washington through the use of primary sources, Jagmohan was able to “close the gap between text and context.”
Exhibit: Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience
October 10 - December 7, 2012 - Lower Level, Du Bois Library
“Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” tells the story of black baseball players in the U.S. over the past century and a half. Although many blacks played baseball with whites in the nineteenth century as amateurs and also played on minor league teams through the 1880s, black players were not allowed to compete with whites when major league baseball was created in the mid-1890s. To counter this discrimination, they organized teams made up entirely of black players and formed leagues that were known collectively as the Negro Leagues.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 1:00 pm, Jones Library, Amherst: “The Mighty Jim Crow has Struck Out! The Story of How a Small New England Town Embraced the African-American Ball Player,” a talk by Dan Genovese. The author of two books about 19th century baseball in Western Massachusetts, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball, Vol. 1 and The Old Ball Ground: Volume 2: Town Teams & Bush Leaguers, Genovese is captain and co-founder of the Westfield Wheelmen Vintage Base Ball Club. He is also the author of Rough House, a look at professional basketball in the early 20th century. Genovese was born in Westfield and has played all levels of baseball in Westfield from Little League to college to Vintage Base Ball. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The event is co-sponsored by Jones Library and UMass Amherst.
Thursday, Oct. 25, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst: “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” a talk by Rob Ruck PhD, Senior Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The event is also an opening reception for the exhibit “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.” Ruck is the author of Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburg;, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic; Rooney: A Sporting Life and the recently released Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game. His documentary work includes Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men, which won an Emmy for Cultural Programming, and The Republic of Baseball: Dominican Giants of the American Game. He was on the committee that elected eighteen players from the Caribbean and the Negro Leagues to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and recently served as an advisor for Viva Beisbol, the permanent exhibit on Latinos at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Effa Manley, the First Woman Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” a talk by Doron Goldman. A former lecturer in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, Doron “Duke” Goldman is currently a baseball historian and presenter as well as an elder care researcher. At UMass Amherst, Doron taught a course called “Baseball: Myths and Legends.” A longtime member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), his interests are the Negro Leagues and baseball’s integration, as well as baseball’s role in the ongoing struggle for social justice in America.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Red, Black, and Green: The Red Sox, Race and Pumpsie Green,” a talk by Rob Weir. Weir has published four books on the American labor movement: The Changing Landscape of Labor (with Michael Jacobson-Hardy); Beyond Labor's Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor; Knights Unhorsed: Internal Conflict in a Gilded Age Social Movement; and The Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor (with James Hanlan). Weir is a lecturer of history at UMass Amherst and has taught at Bay Path College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Mount Ida College, and was a senior Fulbright scholar in New Zealand.
UMass Amherst Archeology Field School, Department of Anthropology
July 11-August 17, 2012 - Du Bois Homesite, Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Watch the video: http://bit.ly/fieldschoolvideo.
The Department of Anthropology offers a six-week summer field school program based on the introduction to the practice of archaeological heritage at the W.E.B. Du Bois homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The program offers in-depth study and training in historic settlement analysis, including survey strategy, subsurface sampling procedures, artifact analysis, public interpretation, archival research, community engagement, artifact analysis, and computer applications. These skills have many applications, including cultural resource management, historic preservation, and as a step towards more heritage and advanced archaeological education and research. For more information, contact Whitney Battle Baptiste at email@example.com.
UMass Amherst Black Alumni Reunion
April 13-15, 2012
The UMass Amherst Black Alumni Network, the Alumni Association, and CMASS (Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success) are hosting a reunion weekend packed with social, cultural, academic, and career events, in conjunction with Black Out Weekend. Join us for coffee and a tour of the Du Bois Center, 9:00 am – 10:00 am, Room 2202, W.E.B. Du Bois Library.
For registration and information, contact UMass Amherst Alumni Association, 800-456-UMASS, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Tribute to the Black Church
Sunday, February 26, 2012, 3:00 p.m.
St. John’s Church, 643 Union Street, Springfield, MA
St. John’s Congregational Church (Springfield, Mass.), in collaboration with The W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries, host the 2nd Annual “The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Tribute to the Black Church.” The high-energy program will feature inspirational songs, poetic expressions, and other tributes to the Western Massachusetts native. Admission is free.
This marks the second year of the partnership between St. John’s and The W.E.B. Du Bois Center. The purpose of the partnership between the two organizations is to: (1) establish an annual event to promote the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, its relevance to the modern Black Church and its impact on future generations; (2) build awareness of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center and its available resources; and (3) engage other strategic partners to accomplish relevant goals and objectives.
The historic St. John’s Congregational Church is one of the oldest and most active Black Churches in New England. This year, St. John’s is celebrating the 168th anniversary of its founding in 1844 by anti-slave protestors. Currently the congregation claims more than 1,500 members. The partnership with the Du Bois Center and UMass Amherst is a continuation of the church’s rich history of positive community influence by its pastors, members, and ministries. Throughout St. John’s history, it has maintained relationships with nationally known human rights advocates. Abraham Lincoln knew one of the founding members of the church personally. Other honored guests and visitors to the church have included Sojourner Truth, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Jesse Jackson and Deval Patrick.
Contact: Brooks Fitch, W.E.B. Du Bois Center, UMass Amherst Libraries; 214-616-3438, email@example.com. Channel 22 News coverage
18th Annual Du Bois Birthday Lecture
"Ideas Have Consequences: The Radical Pedagogy of W.E.B. Du Bois"
Thursday, February 23, 2012, 4:30-6 pm, Cape Cod Lounge
Keynote speaker: Derrick Alridge, professor and historian at the University of Virginia
Watch the video
The UMass Amherst Libraries will host the 18th Annual Du Bois Lecture on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 4:30 pm, in the Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union, at UMass Amherst. Derrick P. Alridge will give a talk, “Ideas Have Consequences: The Radical Pedagogy of W.E.B. Du Bois.” The same talk will be given that day at 10:30 am at St. John’s Congregational Church, 643 Union Street, Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Alridge will explore Du Bois’s many meanings of pedagogy and offer a genealogy of Du Bois’s ideas about a variety of issues faced by black Americans during the 20th century. Refreshments will be served. The event is open to the public.
Derrick P. Alridge, an educational and intellectual historian, is Professor in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Previously, he served as Professor of Education and African American Studies and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia.
Alridge has published The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History; Message in the Music: Hip Hop, History, and Pedagogy (an edited volume with James B. Stewart and V.P. Franklin); and numerous articles in the fields of history, education, and African American Studies.
Alridge also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of African American History and is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Currently, he is writing The Hip Hop Mind: An Intellectual History of the Social Consciousness of a Generation and conducting research on the role of education and schooling in the civil rights movement.
Alridge will join a prominent group of scholars as the Du Bois lecturer, which include David Levering Lewis, Herbert Aptheker, John Bracey, Clayborne Carson, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Arnold Rampersad, and Bettina Aptheker, to name a few.
The event is sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at the UMass Amherst Libraries. For more information, contact Rob Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-545-6842). Channel 22 news story and video
Fall 2011 Events
Libraries Celebrate the Launch of Credo
We celebrated the launch of Credo, our new online repository of digital materials from Special Collections and University Archives that features the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois, with a star-studded program bookended by remarks from Chancellor Emeritus Randolph Bromery, who is responsible for UMass Amherst’s acquisition of the Du Bois papers, and Afro-American Studies Professor William Strickland, who for many years directly oversaw the collection. Amilcar Shabazz, chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois African American Studies Department, demonstrated a search on Credo. Scholars, authors, and librarians praised the ability to look more broadly, deeply, and efficiently for the many telling connections and cross sections in Du Bois life and letters, thanks to Credo: http://credo.library.umass.edu/.
Du Bois, Black Feminist Archaeology & the Veil of Black Womanhood
Assistant professor of Anthropology Whitney Battle-Baptiste gave a talk on gender, race and class and the development of Du Boisian archaeology. She also read from and signed copies of her new book, Black Feminist Archaeology.
Whitney Battle-Baptiste is an historical archaeologist of African and Cherokee descent, she has done fieldwork at Colonial Williamsburg, the Hermitage, the W.E.B. Du Bois homestead, and other sites. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin and conducts research on plantations in the U.S. Southeast, the materiality of contemporary African American popular culture, and Black Feminist theory and its implications for archaeology. Battle-Baptiste will be directing the Archaeology Field School at the Du Bois homesite in the summer of 2012.
Read an interview with Whitney Battle-Baptiste
Winners of Du Bois Fellowships Gave Talks
Markeysha Davis, of the Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst, gave a talk “Daring Propaganda for the Beauty of the Human Mind: Redefinition and Reaffirmation of the Black Self in Poetry and Drama of the 1960s and 1970s.” Rickey Fayne, of the English Department at Northwestern University, gave a talk “The Will to Achieve: Philosophy and Psychology in Service of Social Action in W.E.B. Du Bois’s Pan-African American Consciousness.”
Winter 2011 Events
17th Annual Du Bois Lecture
“W.E.B. Du Bois: Personal Stories/Political Reflections,” a talk by Bettina Aptheker
Monday, February 28, 2011, 4:30 p.m. , Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union
Bettina Aptheker is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
An activist, author, feminist, and professor, Bettina Aptheker, PhD, has taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for more than 30 years. Her most recent book is a memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel (2006). It contains many stories of her early friendship with W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois.
Dr. Aptheker's other books include The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; 2nd edition, 1999); Woman's Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History (1982); and Tapestries of Life: Women's Work, Women's Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience (1989). She is the biographer of Shirley Graham Du Bois for Notable American Women , and is currently writing a critical essay on Shirley Graham Du Bois' creative career as an opera composer, playwright, biographer, and novelist. She is also at work on a major research project: “Queering the History of the American Left: 1940s-1980s.”
The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Tribute to the Black Church
Sunday, February 27, 2011 • 3:00 pm
St. John's Congregational Church, 643 Union Street, Springfield, MA
We celebrated a new partnership between The Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries and St. John's Congregational Church with an afternoon of gospel, dance, drama, and oratory by St. John's choirs and UMass Amherst students and faculty.
From the UMass Amherst Theater and Dance Department, Janeae Warren and Magda Compere performed “The Riddle of The Sphinx,” a poem by W.E.B. Du Bois. On saxophone, Gilbert McCauley and Richenond Fadre performed “In the Tradition,” by Amiri Baraka, and Paul Denis performed “Hard Time Blues.” Watch news video
Tenth Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Birthday Celebration
February 19, 2011
Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church, 9 Elm Court, Great Barrington, MA
The Du Bois Center invited the public to celebrate the tenth annual W.E.B. Du Bois Birthday Celebration with the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church and Friends of the Du Bois Homesite. The celebration featured the Women of Faith Choir of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield.
The annual Du Bois Birthday celebration at Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church was instituted in 2001 by the late Rev. Esther Dozier. Great Barrington-born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois attended Clinton A. M. E. Zion Society meetings as a young boy and wrote articles about the Church for the New YorkGlobe and the Freeman. Dr. Du Bois was a co-founder of the NAACP and the founder and guiding force of the Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, from 1910-1934. He was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance and is widely considered to be the father of Pan Africanism.
Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Libraries Announces Partnership with St. John’s Congregational Church
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A five-year partnership agreement signed on February 7, 2011, by the UMass Amherst Libraries will provide St. John’s Congregational Church with new educational and cultural resources while building awareness of the Libraries’ W.E.B. Du Bois Center.
The partnership’s ambitious plans include promotion of the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois’s work in relation to the black church, engagement of Springfield K-12 students in cultural and educational opportunities, and development of an international educational component to bring together Du Bois scholars and black church leaders from around the globe.
“The partnership between the Du Bois Center and St. John’s Congregational Church is a strategic alliance to further the goals of the church and the center and to continue the legacy of Dr. Du Bois in the areas of excellence, knowledge, leadership, and community enrichment,” said Brooks Fitch of the Du Bois Center. “We believe St. John’s is the perfect partner because of its rich history of spiritual and community leadership.” Read more and watch video
Brooks Fitch was interviewed on “Connecting Point” about his work with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission on its Plan for Progress and the Development of the Knowledge Corridor Initiative. Watch video