W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Lecture Series

The W. E. B. DuBois Distinguished Lecture Series was initiated by the Department during the late 1970’s as a means for acknowledging, annually, the achievements of William Edward Burghardt DuBois, the pre-eminent Black scholar and political activist of the early 20th century. Dr. DuBois’ career spanned some 75 years during which time he made significant contributions in the areas of scholarship [first African American to write books of scholarly merit], teaching [Atlanta University, Wilberforce University and the U. of Pennsylvania], and political activism [among the founders of the NAACP and the Pan African Congress]. Dr. DuBois was also instrumental in establishing the tradition of providing an assessment of the progress of African Americans, and all peoples of African descent, in their progress toward full equality, while also making clear what work remains in achieving this goal. For these reasons, each year, the Department invites an illustrious scholar or activist to provide an assessment of where we are in this journey, what problems and issues demand our immediate attention, and what work remains in achieving our overall goal of full equality.

During the more than 30 years of this Lecture Series, we have sought to invite as our distinguished lecturers, eminent scholars and social activists whose works and achievements are commensurate with the scholarly and activist tradition established by Dr. DuBois. Among the early presenters in the Series were Sterling Brown, C. L. R. James, Sterling Stuckey, Sonia Sanchez, Lani Guinier, Derrick Bell, Paula Giddings, Manning Marable, Charles V. Willie, Shirley A. Jackson, James Friedman, and Raymond Hall. Within the past decade, we have been privileged to include a similar set of eminent scholars and social activists among our lecturers. A listing of these scholars and their lecture topics is given below.

  • 2000 Dr. Vincent Harding [U. of Denver] Moral Challenges Facing 21st Century Democratics Societies
  • 2001 Mr. Samuel F. Yette [Journalist] The Talented Tenth, One Century Later
  • 2002 Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley [New York University] A New Song: Of Jazz and Freedom
  • 2003 Dr. Beverly Daniels Tatum [Spelman College] Talking About Race, Learning About Racism: A Conversation for 21st Century
  • 2004 Dr.Sheryll Cashin [Georgetown Law School] The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining The American Dream
  • 2005 Mr. Carl Mack [Natl Society of Black Engineers] Black Achievements in Science and Technology
  • 2006 Dr. Manning Marable [Columbia University] Relevance of DuBois for 21st Century Black America
  • 2007 Dr.Ronald Walters [U. of Maryland, College Park] Black Leadership in America and the African Diaspora: Its Promises and Problems
  • 2008 Dr. Molefi Kete Asante [Temple University] DuBois and Africa: The Convergence of Consciousness
  • 2009 Dr. Nkiru Nzegwu [Binghamton University] Immigration and African Diaspora Women
  • 2010 Dr. Mary Frances Berry [U. of Penn] Politics and Policy in the 21st Century: Does Race Still Matter?

As we continue to plan future programs, the Department is confident that it will be able to identify equally eminent scholars who are willing to share their thoughts and insights about problems and issues impacting the global African Diaspora in the 21st century.