February 24, 2014

Tthe Berkshires and the Burghardts

This Thursday, February 27, at 7 pm in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library, come hear about the Berkshires and the Burghardts!

Hear about some of the work being done at the homesite of W. E. B. DuBois in Great Barrington at The Jones Library in a presentation by Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UMass-Amherst. 

The homesite is found just outside of Great Barrington, where a small house once stood. This was the house of the Black Burghardts, the maternal line of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.  This small plot of land is where Du Bois spent his formative years, developed his love for New England, and where the Burghardt family spent almost 150 years. This presentation will discuss some of the challenges of working on a site associated with a global figure such as W. E. B. Du Bois, engaging with local and associated communities, creating an informed interpretive plan for the site that includes all sides of the story, and how the interpretation of this place impacts the larger discussion of race in New England.

Whitney Battle-Baptiste is assistant professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  Dr. Battle-Baptiste is a historical archaeologist interested in race, gender, and cultural landscapes.  She has conducted field work at many sites, including the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee; Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia; and The Abiel Smith School in Boston.  Her latest research is at the W. E. B. DuBois boyhood homesite in Great Barrington.

This is the third program in this year’s Town/Gown Discussion Series by The Jones Library and the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. 

Free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

P.S. Need a little background before you head over to the Jones on Thursday?  Check out this NY Times article from 1969.