(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – W.E.B. Du Bois’s great grandson Arthur E. McFarlane II will make his first pilgrimage to his great-grandfather’s hometown when he comes to Great Barrington on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, to take part in a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of Du Bois’s death in 1963, which coincided with the Great Civil Rights March on Washington. The program will include a lecture and wreath-laying at the Du Bois family plot at Mahaiwe Cemetery.
McFarlane will lay a wreath at his family’s plot at Mahaiwe Cemetery at 3:30 pm that day and speak to members of the news media. At 6 pm he will give a public lecture and discussion about Du Bois at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St. McFarlane, professor Frances Jones-Sneed, local author Bernard Drew, historian Scott Christianson, W.E.B. Du Bois Center director Randy F. Weinstein, and other distinguished speakers will discuss Du Bois’s relationship with Great Barrington and also pay special tribute to McFarlane’s grandmother, Yolande. Afterward, a reception will be held at the center at 8pm.
“Du Bois at 50: A Hometown Retrospective” is part of a year-long series of public events exploring various aspects of civil rights and social justice will commence in February (Black History Month), sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Center, a nonprofit organization providing educational programs that examine historical and contemporary aspects of social justice. The center, located at 684 Main St., consists of a bookstore, research library, program and classroom space, and recently opened Museum of Civil Rights Pioneers, which preserves artifacts relating to W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, James Weldon Johnson, Paul Robeson, and other prominent civil rights activists. The site is a sanctuary for study, reflection, and dialogue about issues that matter.