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Wednesday, Feb.23rd is W.E.B. Du Bois' Legacy & Birthday

celebrate with these Berkshire events

By Berkshires Macaroni Kid February 15, 2022

In January of 2021, the town of Great Barrington approved the proclamation of W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Day. Gwendolyn VanSant, part of the town’s W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee and of Founding Director of Multicultural BRIDGE says the yearly acknowledgment emerged from work that began in 2018 with the celebration of the Great Barrington native’s 150th birthday.

"Our vision is that we have a day to really honor this homecoming of Du Bois that we’ve been working on for the past three years, that every child in Great Barrington knows that Du Bois is from here," she said. "We picture businesses holding up the day and really honoring Du Bois. We’ll put the banners back up as we always do.”

The Town of Great Barrington W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee will commemorate the 153rd birthday of native son Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois with performances, presentations, and community reflections on the theme "The Sacred Journeying of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois: Native Son and Global Intellectual." 

Town-sponsored events and those hosted by community collaborators will incorporate musical and theatrical performances, a panel discussion, and keynote address, among other highlights. Guests will include leaders from some of the preeminent institutions that were home to Dr. Du Bois’s journeying.

The event kicks off Feb. 18, with a visit by Du Bois' grandson Jeffrey Peck, to Du Bois Middle School, where he’ll speak to students. That evening, at 7 p.m., Multicultural Bridge and Shakespeare & Company will produce the Charles Smith play “Knock Me a Kiss,” for which Yolande Nina Du Bois Irvin, herself, served as an advisor. The play is a fictional account of the 1928 marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois’ daughter, Yolande, to the poet Countee Cullen.

“She was very proud of that production, and that’s why we’re doing it — in their honor,” said VanSant.

Admission is free. Tickets are available at Shakespeare.org.

Monday through Wednesday is billed as the Fifth Annual Du Bois Legacy Festival. It will include daily pre-recorded talks and performances produced in collaboration with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and accessed online each day at 5:30 p.m. The keynote address will be given by Dr. George T. French Jr., president of Clark Atlanta University. Check with mahaiwe.org for updated information.

Community partner Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center joins the Town of Great Barrington to present this year’s W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival remotely for participants to view over the course of three evenings on Feb 21, 22, and 23rd at mahaiwe.org.

Additional viewing will be available on the Du Bois Legacy Committee Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrJDq9aNVL-2MDrm552ReSw


Learn more about W.E.B. Du Bois 

Visit his homesite.