“W. E. B. Du Bois at Paris International Exposition, 1900.” (Photo courtesy: W. E. B. Du Bois Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries)

Get the Measure of W. E. B. Du Bois at Preservation Society Lecture April 11

A series of lectures on the African-heritage experience during America’s Gilded Age will begin Thursday, April 11, at Rosecliff, one of the most iconic mansions of the period.

Presented by The Preservation Society of Newport County and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, “The Measure of a Man: Double Consciousness and the Fashioning of W. E. B. Du Bois” will examine little-known aspects of one of the most influential Black figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr. Jonathan Michael Square, Assistant Professor of Black Visual Culture at Parsons School of Design, applies a new perspective to understanding how a youth from rural Massachusetts transformed himself into the esteemed Harvard-educated Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963).

Along the way, Dr. Square, who is finishing a book manuscript tentatively titled “Negro Cloth: How Slavery Birthed the American Fashion Industry,” will illuminate Du Bois’ lifelong interaction with fashion and photography.

This Spring Lecture Series is presented in conjunction with the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s exhibition “Gilded Age Newport in Color” at Rosecliff. The exhibition, which is included with admission to Rosecliff, explores a largely unknown but important chapter in American history: the experience of a thriving African-heritage community in Newport.

The lecture series will continue on May 16 and June 6, with details to be announced soon.

Each lecture will start at 6 p.m. and will be available for attendance in-person at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, or via Zoom video conference. Registration is required; go to www.newportmansions.org/events/the-measure-of-a-man.

Dr. Jonathan Michael Square

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For more information, please visit www.NewportMansions.org.




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