The poet Robert Frost once described home as the "place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." For W.E.B. Du Bois, who revered his Great Barrington roots, home was also the place where his heart was.
Fifty-two years ago, Du Bois last stepped foot on Great Barrington soil in order to bury his daughter; 52 years later, Du Bois’s great-grandson will step foot in Great Barrington for the first time. Arthur E. McFarlane II will participate in the Du Bois Center’s 50th anniversary commemoration of his great-grandfather’s death, which occurred on the eve of the Great March on Washington, this Wednesday at 6 p.m, at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main Street, Great Barrington.
Our program, "Du Bois at 50: A Hometown Retrospective," will explore Du Bois’s life from aspiring younger to international civil rights leader.
Representative "Smitty" Pignatelli will officially recognize Great Barrington’s famous native son. Mr. McFarlane, Professor Frances Jones-Sneed of MCLA, and Historian Bernard Drew will examine aspects of Du Bois’s enduring legacy. Journalist Nichole Du-pont and students Mohammed Adawulai, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and Anna Dupont, Undermountain Elementary School, will pay homage to Mr. McFarlane’s great-grandmother Nina, great-uncle Burghardt, grandmother Yolande and other relatives buried in Great Barrington’s Mahaiwe Cemetery. Scott Christianson, award-winning author, will serve as master of ceremonies.
In his autobiography, Du Bois counseled his then two year old great-grandson about one’s life’s work being the inner satisfaction which that work derives and the world’s need of that work. "Never hesitate," Du Bois told Arthur, "never falter." We should all be so blessed with such sage advice.
Please join us tomorrow. The occasion promises to be both significant and enlightening.
RANDY F. WEINSTEIN
The writer is executive director of the Du Bois Center.