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DuBios Centre prepares for Silver Jubileepdf print preview print preview
21/11/2009Page 1 of 1
 

DuBios Centre prepares for

Silver Jubilee

Story by:      Godwin Yirenkyi

 Memorial Centre for Pan-African culture, in Accra, and to celebrate the occasion, the new management of the centre has drawn up a number of innovative activities and programs to make it a very memorable one as well as turn the place into a busy centre of activities.

First among the preparations, according to the acting Director Mrs. Berenice Deh-Kumah include the rehabilitation of facilities and beautification of the compound including the installation of a fountain around the mausoleum of the great Pan-Africanist and his wife.

Another important project scheduled to start from January next year is the digitization of the 20 books and large number of papers written by Dr. Burghardt Du Bois, said Mrs. Deh-Kumah. The digitization has become necessary because of their fragile condition due to old age and also to make them accessible to more people who may need them.

Among the numerous activities planned for the occasion itself are exhibitions, symposia, lectures, film shows and dramatic performances among others.

The DuBois Memorial Centre has a number of facilities such as the 5-room Marcus Garvey Guest Centre with double-beds at $50 per day for researchers and special guests. The doors of guest house are named after some of the great historical black leader like Rosa Parks, Martine Luther King, Malcom X, Kofi Annan, Harriet Tubman and Nelson Mandela.

Others are the well stocked Dubois library, a 44-seater meeting room, an open-air theatre as well as the Roots Flavours Bar and Restaurant.

Located on the same compound with the centre are organizations such as the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) and offices and museum of the National Commission of Culture.

Prominent among the organizations sited on the DuBois grounds is the building of the Diasporan African Forum (DAF), the first Diasporan Centre in African which was granted diplomatic status by the Ghana government in 2007, DAF aims at drawing the attention of African diaporans back home to support development and the re-branding of the mother continent.

Found on display in the house where the DuBoises lived are family photographs, including Mrs. Shirley Graham DuBois, shown receiving a Doctor of Humanities certificate at Massachusetts University; academic gowns and hoods of Dr. DuBiois in addition to American postage stamps depicted back American heroes including Jesse Owens, Sougourner Truth, DuBois and others.

The photo gallery tells much of the relationship between Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. BuBois. For example on showing the Du?Boises at the reception following Dr. Nkrumah’s inauguration indicates that Dr. DuBois visited Ghana before he came to settle in 1961. Another shows Dr. Nkrumah and his wife Fathia in attendance at the 95th birthday celebration of Dr. DuBois.  Incidentally the same year that he passed away. The state funeral was also shown in pictures.

Some show DuBois with Chairman Mao Twe Tung of China when he visited that country, with a citation written in Chinese. Individual portraits of eminent African leaders such as Dr. Kwegjir Aggrey, Presidents Julius Nyerere, Sekou Toure, Ben Bella, Tafawa Balewa are also displayed. There is also a bookshop with assorted books, magazines and art works on sale.

Other items on show are 17 books of Dr. Nkrumah loaned with four other translated into French.

Some of the regular Programmes at the centre have included the celebration of Black History. Month in February every year as well as the birthday of Dr. ath for the nationwide ceremonies are DuBois which falls on 23rd February. The rest have been Women’s’ Day on April 21; African Union Day in May, as well as key roles during PANAFEST and Emancipation Day on which occasion the first wreath for the nationwide ceremonies are first laid before the other sites.

Another important event has been the DuBois-Nkrumah-Padmore Annuah Lectures. There are other collaborative events with the Goethe Institue and others together with various symposia and musical programme.

In a bid to increase awareness among the youth concerning the works  of Dr. DuBois and for them to keep abreast with activities at the centre, the acting Director said that a Pan-African Youth club has been formed in 10 schools whereby the students are given periodic lectures.

Moreover, recognizing that not many Ghanaians know the story of Dr. DuBois well, the centre plans to publish a newsletter as well as abridged biographical material on Dr. DuBois and othere black leaders.

Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, historian, journalist and sociologist has been described as the “most prominent political activist of his generation of black intellectuals”, who worked all his life against racial discrimination and for black emancipation.

He became one of the most descent have a common interest and showed prominent figures of black protest in the USA and one of the pioneers of Pan-Africansm, the belief that people of African descent have a common interest and should work together to end prejudice.

He attended the first Pan-African Conference in London in 1900 and after that organized such conferences in Europe and the United States. The Sixth Pan-Africa Congress held in Manchester, UK, in 1945, saw the emergence of African nationalist figures, notably Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Keynatta, with a programme of African ‘autonomy and independence’.

The goal of seeking racial equality was the same among the early civil rights leaders but the methods were naturally varied. Dr. Du Bois for instance differed from Booker T. Washington who thought that black people could better themselves through hard work with the opening of Tushegee Unversity to give industrial and vocational training to black Americans.

Describing the idea as “narrow”, DuBois advocated higher education. Like Dr. J. E. K. Aggrey from Ghana who too became a pre-eminent advocate of racial harmony in the United States. Dr. DuBois, though non-violent believed that “silent submission to civic inferiority would surely sap the manhood of any race in the long run”. His method was “intellectual confrontation” and urged educated blacks to make their demands heard and speak against racial discrimination. Like Aggrey and the great scientist Albert Einstein, he believed it was up to the whites to set the ball of equal rights rolling. Again like Aggrey, he applauded Marcus Garvey for championing the cause but didn’t believe the objective could be attained by force of violence, as preached by ultra radicals such as Marcus Garvey and described his method as “bombastic and impracticable”.

He worked with the Niagara Movement and the NAACP but after 1948 became disappointed with how slowly a race relation was moving in the United States. In 1959 while in Peking he told a large audience: “in my own country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a Nigger.” He was described as a “radial” by some and a “foreign principal” by those who were afraid that his loquacious espousals would unit the oppressed throughout the world into revolution.

Dr. DuBois had resolved not to wait any longer but fight to the finish by demanding freedom of speech and criticism, manhood, suffrage, the abolition of all distinction based on race, the recognition of the basic principles of human brotherhood, and respect for the working man.”

Finally, upset with slow pace of racial equality in the United States, he converted into Communism and migrated to Ghana in 1961. He took Ghanaian citizenship and never relaxed in his relentless challenge “to expose the myths and distortions fed to the African in order to dehumanize him”.

President Nkrumah welcomed DuBois and asked him to direct the government-sponsored Encyclopedia Africana, the first volume of which was published in 1977.

On August 27, 1963, on the eve of the “March On Washington” by more than 300,000   mainly black protesters demanding equal rights, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. Made his famous “ I have a dream speech”, Dr. DuBois died in Accra, at the ripe old age of 95. His wife how died in China in 1977 was later buried by his side in the mausoleum in the compound of the house.

Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, historian, journalist and sociologist has been described as the “most prominent political activist of his generation of black intellectuals”, who worked all his life against racial discrimination and for black emancipation.











*Source:

               Times Weekend           Page:   13        Saturday, November 21, 2009

 

 

 

 
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