The beauty and the importance of the W.E.B. Dubois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture

By NAYABA ARINDE

Set on a beautiful campus in the bustling heart of Accra, Ghana, is the inspirational W.E.B. DuBois Centre for Pan African Culture, which was dedicated on June 22, 1985.

A proud bust of DuBois surveys the peaceful green and plant-filled grounds.

Locals, tourists and relocated foreign residents descend upon this expansive and embracing campus to learn about and feel the energy of this world renowned Pan Africanist scholar, innovator, publisher and avid writer.

Born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Mass., the “Father of Pan Africanism” died in the very same W.E.B. DuBois Memorial House in 1963. He was gifted the home by President Kwame Osagyefo Nkrumah and stayed there from 1961 to 1963.

On the walls are dozens of mostly black and white original photographs showing a panorama of his life with pictures of icons such as Malcolm X, President Kwame Nkrumah, Paul Robeson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Present too are images of his relationship with Mao Tse-Tung, and his trip to China, including the first one in 1936.

To quote http://webduboiscentreaccra.ghana-net.com/about-dr-du-bois.html, DuBois helped form the “Niagra Movement (1905-10), a forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (N.A.A.C.P), which called for full political, civil and social rights for African-Americans. He also became editor of the N.A.A.C.P publication, The Crisis. DuBois also inspired the organization of several Pan African Congresses between 1919 and 1945.”

Volunteer tour guides such as relocated African-American Rene Rabone educate visitors about the totality of the man, and show his private, now public space. Rabone spoke proudly of the work of the publisher and prolific writer of The Crisis magazine and showed copies of his 43 books, which are stored carefully behind glass and in his library housing hundreds of books. Visitors can see the living quarters, including the sunken bath created so the 93-year-old icon could step into it comfortably. Noted too are the tributes to his family, first wife Nina, and then Shirley Graham-DuBois, and children Burghardt and Yolande.

And there is the mounted dedication presented by his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in 2007.

Everything about the home/museum/immaculate grounds emits a powerful presence and sense of historical, cultural, political and educational acknowledgment and improvement.

DuBois rests in the mausoleum where visitors can enter. On July 24, 2019, there was a wreath-laying ceremony, and there was a celebration last year for the 150th year since his birth.

Also on the grounds are the Marcus Garvey Guest Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Diaspora African Forum with the Diaspora Village, the African American Association of Ghana, the Sankofa Wall, the Walls of Civil Rights and Pan-Africanist Leaders.

A Pan-African pride is all around the grounds. In case anyone has forgotten, one of the many quotes posted on the wall of his home is: “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” DuBois reiterated the point throughout all his works—teaching, writing and political building.

For more information, log onto http://webduboiscentreaccra.ghana-net.com/about-dr-du-bois.html.

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