On Friday September 22nd, 2023, the W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, New York, signed a Final Site Control Agreement at a Breakfast Meeting with the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Pierre Hotel in New York city. The Agreement now gives the Du Bois Museum Foundation New York, and its affiliate in Ghana, the authorization to proceed to rebuild and develop the dilapidating W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture in Accra, Ghana, into a befitting Museum Complex in honor of the great Dr. Du Bois and is wife Shirley Graham Du Bois. The site is the burial place of both Dr. Du Bois who died in Ghana on August 27th, 1963, and his widow Shirley Graham Du Bois who died in Beijing, China on March 27th, 1977, and whose ashes are also interred at the site.
Accompanying the President to the Breakfast Meeting signing were his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Sheila Ayorkor Botwe who signed for the Government, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon Godfred Yeboah Dame, who witnessed the for government, the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Hon. Harold Agyeman, and Hon. Nana Badiatuo Asante the Secretary to the President.
The Du Bois Museum side was represented by the Chairman and Founder and Chairman of the Board, Mr. Daniel Rose, the Treasurer Dr. Deborah Rose, and Board Members, Mr. Micheal Morand and Dr. Humphrey Ayim Darke. Mr. Japhet Aryiku, the Ghanaian American Executive Director of the Du Bois Museum Foundation signed on behalf of the Foundation. In his remarks, Mr. Daniel Rose thanked President Nana Addo for making this day possible for the signing and implored everyone to support this project which honors the greatest African American intellectual of all times. The responded that Ghana and indeed African will never forget Dr. Du Bois and his contribution to the continent and that he will always be celebrated and remembered.
The Current W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture
From late 1961 to 1963 Du Bois lived a full life in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, working on the Encyclopedia Africana, and entertaining the country’s political elite and the small colony of African Americans at the comfortable home the government had provided him.
Du Bois died the day before his American compatriots assembled for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was the beginning of the end of the era of segregation that had shaped so much of Du Bois’s life. On 29th August 1963, Du Bois was interred in a state funeral in a vault outside Fort Christiansborg, the Castle, Osu, formerly a holding pen for the slave cargoes bound for the Americas.
In 1984, Du Bois’s remains were removed from Fort Christiansborg, the Castle, Osu, to its present site at No. 22, 1st Circular Road, near the American Embassy in Accra, the original residence of the Du Bois’. The following year, 1985, the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture was dedicated, with Du Bois’s library of some fifteen hundred books, a museum of collection of gifts and fabrics, and the mausoleum, as its core. Over the years, other structures were erected on the compound including an administrative building and conference center and stalls for artists.
THE NEW W.E.B. DU BOIS MUSEUM COMPLEX
In the concept design for the new W.E.B Du Bois Museum Complex, the only structures from the current site that would remain are the Bungalow and the Gazebo Mausoleum which will be incorporated into a new W.E.B and Shirley Du Bois Memorial Pavilion. The Bungalow will be restored, as much as possible, to its original state and a separate Museum and Library will be built to house the books, papers, and other collections of the Du Bois’. The complex will consist of these core facilities:
W.E.B and Shirley Du Bois Memorial Pavilion. The W.E.B. and Shirley Du Bois Memorial Pavilion is the heart of the Complex and the most solemn, revered, and dignified place to visit for contemplation. It incorporates the current gazebo tomb/shrine that holds the mortal remains of Dr. Du Bois and the ashes of his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois.
The Du Bois’ Bungalow. The refurbished and restored bungalow where W. E. B. Du Bois lived, worked, and died with his wife, Shirley Graham. It will have a restored flooring, windows, furniture, and fixtures to their original state.
Institute Building: This is the largest building in the complex and will have a fully curated Museum/Gallery; The Library/Research/Reading Room and Administrative Offices. The Museum/Gallery will exhibit historical pictures, mementos (University Gown/Robs/Hoods) gifts and other items belonging to Dr Du Bois and his wife Shirley Graham.
The Library is another important feature of the Complex that contains books, periodicals, journals, papers, and publications by and about Dr Du Bois and his wife Shirley Graham and the Pan African movement. There will be a rare books room for delicate and personal books and papers of Dr. Du Bois and Shirley Graham.
Outdoor Auditorium: to be used for Cultural and Artistic performances, informal and formal gatherings, Conferences, Lectures, Shows and Special Events.
Marcus Garvey Guest House: The Marcus Garvey guest house will be renovated with new roofing, flooring, furnishing, and fixtures to accommodate visiting scholars, visitors, and special guests of the Museum.
The projected timelines:
- 2024: Start of the renovation and restoration of the Bungalow, Preservation and Conservation of the Books/Papers and fabrics of the Du Bois’.
- 2024/2025/2026: Launch Capital Campaign to raise the $50mil needed to rebuild the facilities.
- 2027/2028: Anticipated start and completion of construction and dedication of the new W.E.B. Du Bois Museum- in Accra, Ghana, in December.