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Aldon Morris to Speak at the 22nd Annual Du Bois Lecture

Friday, February 26, 4 p.m. Student Union Ballroom


The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology Keynote speaker Aldon Morris is the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Aldon Morris is best known for his paradigm-changing research on social movements and in particular his book, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, which received several prizes including the American Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award. His recently released The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology is based on extensive, primary source research and is the result of a decade of research, writing, and revision.  

The Scholar Denied details the role played by Robert E. Park, the white University of Chicago scholar considered to be one of the major architects of modern day sociology, and Booker T. Washington, the most famous and powerful black man in America between 1895 and 1915, in marginalizing the pioneering work that Du Bois and other black scholars produced at Atlanta University, a historically black institution.

“Intellectual schools of thought do not become dominant, prominent and institutionalized just because of the merit of the ideas,” Morris says. “Power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy played a major role in which schools of thought took root. That’s also a big story I’m telling in The Scholar Denied.”

“Du Bois produced the first scientific school of modern sociology,” Morris says. “He was into data collection – census data, survey data, interview data, and ethnographic data. He did it all. That was a new kind of sociology, and my argument is that Du Bois was the founder of it.”

Mitchell Duneier of Princeton University calls A Scholar Denied, “A stunningly original history that should inspire both debate and self-reflection within and beyond the discipline of sociology for years to come.”

The Library marks the February 23, 1868 birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois each year with a lecture on a topic relating to his life and legacy.  The Library was named for Du Bois in 1994 and is home to the extensive W.E.B. Du Bois Papers.

 The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and copies of The ScholarDenied will be for sale and signing by Dr. Morris. The event is co-sponsored by the Randolph and Cecile Bromery Endowment for the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at the UMass Amherst Libraries and the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS).