“There will be no people in the pictures, and yet there will be, in the sense that it’s spaces where people once moved through.
I don’t know if anyone will see this work and immediately recognize it as mine but I like that.
He attended the local integrated public school and played with white schoolmates.
Mary Burghardt Du Bois moved with her son back to her parents' house in Great Barrington until he was five.
She worked to support her family (receiving some assistance from her brother and neighbors), until she suffered a stroke in the early 1880s. Great Barrington had a majority European American community, who treated Du Bois generally well.
In his role as editor of the NAACP's journal The Crisis, he published many influential pieces.
Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and he was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life.
He’s had shows at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts; Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center toured a survey of his work in the ’90s, his iconic portrait of Barack Obama was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and “Harlem USA” was restaged in 2012 by the Art Institute of Chicago.
Still, becoming a 2017 Mac Arthur Foundation grant winner, he said, buys time: “I have more ideas than time, and this allows me to focus intently.” It also comes at an unusual point in his career.
William Du Bois's maternal great-great-grandfather was Tom Burghardt, a slave (born in West Africa around 1730) who was held by the Dutch colonist Conraed Burghardt.
Tom briefly served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, which may have been how he gained his freedom during the 18th century.
; February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor.
Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community.
Though a sense of history lingering always pervaded his work — “Birmingham: Four Girls and Two Boys,” a 2013 project that marked the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Alabama, paired children who were the age of the children who died with elderly who were the age they would have been had they lived — the images were often faces and figures.