W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series at Great Barrington

W.E.B. Du Bois Educational SeriesThe W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series at Great Barrington is presented in partnership with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District for its second year. The series, launched April 2016, was inaugurated by scholar and Pulitzer Prize winning Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis.  The upcoming program features four events during the 2016-2017 school year.  All events are free to the public and will take place in the Monument Mountain Regional High School Auditorium.

The series honors Du Bois, recognized as the “premier architect of the civil rights movement in America,” who was born and raised in Great Barrington, graduating from Great Barrington High School in 1884. In the spirit of Du Bois, the series is intended to heighten awareness of racism, modern slavery, gender and economic inequality and other injustices. The series’ programs and forums are intended to engage and inspire students and others through real-life focused, interactive presentations using a variety of mediums, including lecture, film, and music.


The W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series Presents: GOD’S TROMBONES – Performed by Craig Harris and his world-class band. Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. – Berkshire Hills Regional School District / Monument Mt Regional High, Great Barrington.

“A wonderful family experience” – Suggested donation : $10

Craig Harris, acclaimed jazz trombonist and composer will be performing his musical interpretation of James Weldon Johnson ‘s God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, published in 1927.

Johnson, poet, songwriter and civil rights leader.wrote five of the poems in Great Barrington where he summered. More details at www.mmrhs.org. Co-sponsored by Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area.


  • On March 29th, Tufts University Professor Kendra Field, will deliver a presentation drawn from her forthcoming book “Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War.”  Finally, in
  • May, New York City playwright Clare Coss and actors Kathleen Chalfant and Peter Jay Fernandez will put on a performance of their Off Broadway success “Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington.”

Professor Giddings will kick off the evening of the 26th at 6PM with a question and answer session open to area high school students and the press.  The main event, open to the public, will start at 7 PM and begin with readings performed by Pittsfield and Taconic High School students.  The students, who have been preparing with with poet and playwright Ted Thomas Jr., will recite material by Wells, Claude McKay and Richard Wright.  Giddings will then give the keynote presentation: “(Dis)Respectability and Civil Rights: Ida B. Wells and WEB Du Bois–Two Views.”

Giddings is Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Africana Studies at Smith.  She has authored several books including, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America and, most recently, a biography of Wells, Ida: A Sword among Lions, which won The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. Giddings also serves as the senior editor of Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism — a feminist journal, which provides a forum for scholarship and creative work by and about women of color.

The planning committee for the series this year includes Ted Thomas as well as Du Bois Center at Great Barrington Director Randy Weinstein, Berkshire Hills Regional School District Superintendent Peter Dillon, Monument Mountain Regional High School Principal Marianne Young, NAACP-Berkshire County Branch President Dennis Powel and member Tommie Hutto-Blake (also a member of the Berkshire Human Rights Series), U Mass Du Bois Center Director of Development & Communications Carol Connare, Multicultural BRIDGE staff member Jeff Lowenstein, and parent John Horan, who coordinates the planning committee.  The City of Pittsfield Schools will be partnering with the Series this year with Cultural Proficiency Coach Shirley Edgerton coordinating its student participation.