UMass and local church honor W.E.B. Du Bois

By Collegian News Staff

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Jeff Kellogg/Collegian

Jeff Kellogg/Collegian

In a promotional campaign for the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, the University of Massachusetts has signed a five-year partnership with St. John’s Congregational Church, located in Springfield, Mass.

The partnership will kick off with several events to raise awareness of the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the NAACP and author of many essays, books and articles, many of which are undergoing a digital preservation process in the library on the Amherst campus.

In a news release from UMass, Rev. Calvin J. McFadden Sr., senior pastor of St. John’s said, “This partnership supports St. John’s commitment to enhancing our community by promoting scholarship and excellence, an understanding of history and its relevance to modern society, and Du Bois’ connection with the church. Du Bois’s timeless message of hope and excellence has many similarities to the Christian values promoted by St. John’s.”

St. John’s, located on Union Street in Springfield is a 165-year-old church, as well as one of the oldest black churches in New England.

The news release stated that the goals of the partnership include, “promotion of the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois’ work in relation to the black church, engagement of Springfield K-12 students in cultural and educational opportunities, and development of an international educational component to bring together Du Bois scholars and black church leaders from around the globe.”

Plans will coincide with Black History Month and set off a string of events. The first event will be on Sunday, Feb. 27, titled “The Soul of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Tribute to the Black Church.” The event will be held at the church, and will feature artists from UMass and St. John’s for a night of performances and music.

Saturday, Feb. 28 in the Campus Center, Bettina Aptheker, professor of feminist studies and history at University of California, will present the 17th annual Du Bois lecture, titled “W.E.B. Du Bois: Personal Stories/Political Reflections.” Santa Cruz members of the St. John’s community will also be honored guests at an open house at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library beforehand.

– Collegian News Staff