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Sculptor for W.E.B. Du Bois monument in Great Barrington to be announced in April

Sketch of W.E.B. Du Bois monument in Great Barrington

A sketch of a sculpture monument to civil rights architect and town native W.E.B. Du Bois sitting in front of the Mason Library in Great Barrington. The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project now has enough money to hire a sculptor and will announce the finalist for the commission on April 5. 

GREAT BARRINGTON — A group planning a monument of W.E.B. Du Bois at the Mason Library is ready to hire a sculptor thanks to a couple’s donations last month and multiple grants.

And the W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project’s call for artists resulted in 17 contestants for the sculpture commission. The three finalists will be announced April 5, according to a news release.

Donations in February exceeded the group’s fundraising goals.

A donation of $7,500 and an offer of an additional $7,500 in matching funds from Anne Fredericks and Marc Fasteau resulted in a total of $22,000 in private donations last month.

The Sculpture Project also received three grants: $10,000 each from Berkshire Bank, The Whitehead Foundation and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

These donations bring the total funds raised in February to $67,000. An additional pledge of $25,000 from The Feigenbaum Foundation of Pittsfield raises the anticipated funds to $92,000, the release stated.

Total funds raised exceed the $150,000 for the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $350,0000.

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“This is a remarkable accomplishment for our all-volunteer Board, and a testament to the enthusiasm for a sculpture of this distinguished civil rights leader on our main street,” said Julie Michaels, co-chair of the Du Bois Sculpture Project, in the statement.

Michaels also said that donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.

“They will help us reach the goal of recognizing a great man who is part of our nation’s story,” Michaels said.

The project will also repair the front steps at the library and transform that entrance into a plaza with seating.

Town native Du Bois is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. A world-famous sociologist, historian and founder of the NAACP, he wrote The Souls of Black Folk, a seminal work in African American literature.

The Sculpture Project was launched in May 2022 by a volunteer group of local citizens with the goal of recognizing Du Bois’ scholarly achievements in the fight for racial equality.

The Project celebrates Great Barrington, a town whose long abolitionist history and powerful commitment to public education helped shape the person Du Bois became. The Sculpture Project is endorsed and supported by town officials including the Great Barrington Select Board, the Great Barrington Library Trustees, W.E.B. Du Bois Town Legacy Committee, among many others, the statement said.

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