Critical Heritage Archaeology at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite

Author(s): Robert Paynter

Year: 2015


The University of Massachusetts Amherst has conducted Critical Heritage Archaeology at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, MA in collaboration with a community group interested in commemorating Du Bois and fostering an understanding of African American life in Western Massachusetts. W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most important scholars and political leaders of the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. A 1969 commemoration at the site was met by local and national opposition that brought to the surface divisions along the lines of class and race in rural Massachusetts. Partly because of this the National Historic Landmark W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite had become virtually invisible. With our collaborators, private funding, and support by the University of Massachusetts, we have recently installed an interpretive trail with signage that introduces the general public to Du Bois's efforts to foster a more socially just world. This paper discusses issues surrounding the presentation of such a prolific, influential, and long-lived global figure with limited space and a tight budget. These issues, along with Du Bois’s insights on world history, provide a food for thought about the critical management of archaeological heritage in the 21st century.

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Cite this Record

Critical Heritage Archaeology at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite. Robert Paynter. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395413)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Northeast

Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;