William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois
William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts but his love for Africa has been within him since his youth as expressed in his “Little Portraits of Africa” book published in 1924:
The spell of Africa is upon me. The ancient witchery of her medicine is burning my drowsy, dreamy blood. This is not a country, it is a world—a universe of itself and for itself, a thing Different, Immense, Menacing, Alluring. It is a great black bosom where the Spirit longs to die. It is a life so burning, so fire encircled that one bursts with terrible soul inflaming life. One longs to leap against the sun, and then calls, like some great hand of fate, the slow, silent, crushing power of almighty sleep — of Silence, of immovable Power beyond, within, around. Then comes the calm. The dreamless beat of midday stillness, at dusk, at dawn, at noon, always. . . . Africa is the Spiritual Frontier of human kind.
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While visiting Ghana, Du Bois showed interest in creating an encyclopedia for the African diaspora called the Encyclopedia Africana. He shared his dream with other African leaders including the Emperor.
On August 27, 1963, he died at the age of 95. He was given a state funeral that lasted from August 29 to 30 where he would be buried at the Christiansborg Castle in Osu, Ghana. He was later buried at the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture in Accra, Ghana.