Looking back, looking ahead: Efforts to name a school after the legendary W.E.B. Du Bois
Terry Cowgill } Berkshire Edge
Great Barrington — Almost 15 years ago, the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee considered, and ultimately rejected, a proposal to name its brand new regional elementary school after perhaps the region’s most celebrated academic and civil rights leader.
To some, it seemed like a no-brainer. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois grew up in Great Barrington; was the first African-American to obtain a Ph.D. from Harvard; and was a world-renowned scholar, writer and leader for social and racial justice. Du Bois was seen by many as a trailblazer who paved the way for Martin Luther King Jr. and was “woke” to racial injustice before it became fashionable. Du Bois was also the subject of two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies by distinguished historian David Levering Lewis. Moreover, who better to name a school after than Berkshire County’s most legendary scholar?
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