GREAT BARRINGTON -- A lawmaker steeped in African-American history will be the keynote speaker at this weekend’s daylong observance of the life of W.E.B. Du Bois.

"In The Footsteps of Du Bois," which is free and open to the public, will be held in several locations throughout the town on Saturday.

State Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, will reflect on the significance of Du Bois today, according to Carol Connare, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Library. A reception will follow the talk, which will begin at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on Main Street.

Prior to becoming a state representative in 1982, Rushing was co-founder of Boston’s Museum of African-American History and was its first executive director.

Under his direction, the museum purchased and began the restoration of the African Meeting House in Boston, the oldest black church building in the United States.

Du Bois was born and raised in Great Barrington. As an adult, he championed civil rights, founded the NAACP and was the leader of the movement for international peace and social justice.

UMass-Amherst is the steward of the Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. The UMass-Amherst Libraries are home to the W.E.B. Du Bois papers, available online, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center, a resource dedicated to creating new knowledge and supporting scholarship in connection with Du Bois.

Saturday’s event will begin at 10 a.m.


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, with a walking tour of downtown Great Barrington, led by local historian Bernard A. Drew. The tour, which will highlight key buildings and places important to Du Bois, will begin at the Du Bois birth site at the end of Church Street in the downtown.

Parking is available near the River Walk.

At noon, the public is invited to attend a headstone dedication to commemorate the final resting place of Du Bois’ daughter, Yolanda Du Bois Williams, at the Mahaiwe Cemetery on Main Street.

Arthur McFarlane II, the great grandson of Du Bois, will speak.

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile