The University of Massachusetts Amherst

50th Anniversary: Revisiting Dedication of Du Bois Homesite

Du Bois sitting in his office at a desk that is covered in books and papers.

Friday, Oct. 18, 1-7 p.m.
Great Barrington, MA

On Oct. 18, the Town of Great Barrington and the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries mark the 50th anniversary of what was, in 1969, the controversial establishment of the W. E. B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite, at 612 South Egremont Road, Great Barrington. Talks, readings, exhibitions, music, and film will take place at the Homesite, Mason Library, and First Congregational Church.

1:30-2:30 p.m., Du Bois Boyhood Homesite
Speaking program. Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Center, UMass Amherst Libraries, will emcee. Speakers include Frances Jones Sneed, Ph.D., professor emeritus at MCLA, Dr. David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning Du Bois biographer and recipient of the first Great Barrington W. E. B. Legacy Award, Guy Davis, son of actor/activist Ossie Davis, who emceed the original dedication, and Frederick Lord, an early supporter of the original homesite effort. Jazz musician Craig Harris will perform. A special tree-planting ceremony will follow.

3-4 p.m., Great Barrington Mason Library
View an exhibit of original homesite artifacts gathered by UMass and the Great Barrington-based W. E. B. Du Bois Center. A remarkable film from the 1969 dedication will be shown. Berkshire County NAACP President Dennis Powell will speak about his recent trip from Jamestown, Va., to Ghana, marking the 400-year anniversary of the beginning of the North American slave trade, followed by remarks from Rachel Moriarty, director of the Schumacher Center for New Economics.

5-7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, Great Barrington
Reception 5-5:30 p.m. The Passing and Sharing of the Du Bois Legacy Flame follows along with an inter-generational discussion panel led by Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and founding director of BRIDGE and vice-chair of the Du Bois Legacy Committee. Musical selections by Craig Harris, Wanda Houston and Guy Davis. Drum facilitation by Otha Day, together with Joanna Haigood, choreographer, is sponsored by Jacob’s Pillow Festival of Dance, to complete the day’s celebration.

More information is available here.