W.E.B. DU BOIS AND THE BLACK BERKSHIRES, THEN AND NOW
I FIRST CAME TO KNOW W.E.B. Du Bois as a young person. Driving through western Massachusetts in the 1980s, my dad would pull off in Great Barrington, and point out its significance to me as Du Bois’s homeplace. David Levering Lewis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Du Bois was the last book my father gave me before he died, and a few years later, I was given the opportunity to edit the two-volume biography down to one. As a newcomer to the region and a student at Williams College in the ’90s, much of my knowledge of Black heritage in the Berkshires had centered on Du Bois, the individual—including all the ways in which this civil rights pioneer marched to the beat of his own drum and shaped the world for the rest of us.