W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color

<a href=”https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/first-time-together-and-color-book-displays-web-du-bois-visionary-infographics-180970826/”>Jackie Mansky</a>:<blockquote>

After graduating with a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, W.E.B. Du Bois, the prominent African-American intellectual, sought a way to process all this information showing why the African disapora in America was being held back in a tangible, contextualized form. ”It is not one problem,” as Du Bois wrote in 1898, “but rather a plexus of social problems, some new, some old, some simple, some complex; and these problems have their one bond of unity in the act that they group themselves above those Africans whom two centuries of slave-trading brought into the land.”

To accomplish this goal, Du Bois turned to the burgeoning field of sociology. Sociology’s scope in history, statistics, and demographics held the potential to quantifiably reveal “life within the Veil,” as Du Bois called the structural forces of oppressions that separated black and white populations, whether that came to educational attainment, voting rights or land ownership.

And so, almost two decades before Robert E. Park and the Chicago school were conducting ethnographic field work and statistical analysis, Du Bois pioneered a new way to use sociology: to use those methodologies to contextualize the historical realities resonating among African-Americans. </blockquote>