Drawing Inspiration from the Life and Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois
BOSTON, MA – Dr. Kendra Field and Dr. Kerri Greenidge of Tufts University announce the Second Annual Du Bois Forum to be held in the Berkshires, in partnership with Great Barrington’s Du Bois Freedom Center and the African American Trail Project, from July 6 to July 9, 2023. This extraordinary event assembles distinguished scholars, writers, and artists of color from across the nation, amplifying their voices and building intellectual and artistic community.
The Du Bois Forum’s annual retreat fosters community and collaboration among scholars, writers, and artists of color. This annual gathering draws inspiration from the life and legacy of renowned scholar and civil rights activist, W.E.B Du Bois, who dreamt of establishing such a space – and supporting Black intellectual and artistic traditions – in his native Berkshires. “One of W.E.B. Du Bois’s lifelong dreams was to bring together scholars, writers, and artists of color, and to institutionalize support for their individual and collective work,” said co-founder Kendra Field. “The Du Bois Forum aims to make Du Bois’ dream a reality at a moment in time when it is urgently needed.”
The inaugural retreat in 2022 emerged out of a partnership between the Du Bois Freedom Center (previously the AME Zion Church, the first Black institution of Du Bois’ life) and Dr. Field and Greenidge’s African American Trail Project at Tufts, which maps over 250 African American historical sites across the state. The Forum gathered twenty-five scholars, writers, and artists to reflect upon Du Bois’ life and legacy, and their relevance today. This year’s Forum expands in size and scope, bringing together over thirty writers, scholars, and artists, from historians and sociologists to filmmakers, playwrights, and poets, reflecting the diversity of Du Bois’ own wide-ranging pursuits.
A highlight of the upcoming Forum is “Legacies of the Black Berkshires: An Evening in Honor of David Levering Lewis,” a public event at Jacob’s Pillow on July 7th. This event is a collaboration of the Du Bois Forum, the Du Bois Freedom Center, Jacob’s Pillow, and the African American Trail Project, with the support of the Mellon Foundation. Celebrating the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Du Bois biographer, and Forum co-founder, Dr. David Levering Lewis, the evening will feature reflections on the far-reaching influence of his scholarship and public engagement, a Du Bois-inspired menu by James Beard award-winning chef Bryant Terry, and a performance by Lecolion Washington of the Community Music Center of Boston.
Returning forum participants include inaugural 2022 participants such as Elizabeth Hinton (Yale University) and Saidiya Hartman (Columbia University), as well as newer participants such as Bryant Terry (Museum of the African Diaspora) and Kellie Carter Jackson (Wellesley University).
“The Forum provides a space for Black scholars, artists, and thinkers to learn from each other,” said co-founder Kerri Greenidge. “As such, it continues a proud tradition of intellectual and artistic community for which the Berkshires has historically been known.”