Ghana’s W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Awarded Millions by Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation (Mellon) of New York announced the award of a $5 million grant to W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation that will support the restoration of the final home and resting place of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois in Accra, Ghana, and the preservation of his library. The grant provides leadership funds for four years in Phase 1 of the Du Bois Museum’s plans to restore the historic site and develop an expanded museum and academic research center to celebrate Du Bois’s life and legacy.

Du Bois (1868-1963) stands at the summit of African and African American history and culture. He was foundational in the development of modern African American letters and gave form to the consciousness animating the work of practically all other modern African American intellectuals to follow. A searing critic of racial oppression, a political activist and institution builder, an author and editor, a historian, philosopher, pioneering sociologist, teacher, and Pan-Africanist, Du Bois early on articulated a vision for free and independent African nations.

Phase 1 of the Du Bois Museum Foundation’s work comprises four major activities:

  • The restoration of the bungalow, much in need of repair, where Du Bois lived from 1961-1963 with his wife Dr. Shirley Graham Du Bois.
  • The restoration and preservation of the 1,500 books and papers, now at risk, that Du Bois brought to Ghana as part of his work to complete the Encyclopedia Africana.
  • The restoration and preservation of the academic gowns, textiles, and artifacts used by Du Bois and his wife.
  • Capacity building and administrative support.

The award is consistent with Mellon’s Humanities in Place’s goal of supporting “a fuller, more complex telling of American histories and lived experiences.”   Japhet Aryiku, executive director of the museum foundation, expressed the importance of the Mellon award:

“The W. E. B. Du Bois Museum Foundation (WEBDBMF) is gratified to have the faith, confidence, and partnership of Mellon Foundation. With this award, WEBDBMF-Ghana will undertake and complete the first phase of our work in Accra in partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism Art and Culture and ensure that Du Bois’s home, resting place, and library are preserved to inspire future generations. Mellon’s support fuels our efforts to raise additional funds to develop a museum complex similar in stature to those dedicated to the life, times, and thoughts of great thinkers and leaders as Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This leadership grant will preserve and enhance Du Bois’s legacy and amplify his essential African American and Pan African voice in the global public dialogue”

Contact: Mr. Japhet Aryiku                          (917) 648-4652       

The W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation is a New York based 501C3 non-profit organization with the mission to redevelop the burial place of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois in Accra, Ghana into an important global institution and heritage site and the hub of all things Du Bois.

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