The W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation, a leading New York-based international organisation, will on Monday hold an official signing of an agreement with Ghana to transform the current Du Bois Memorial Centre and burial site in Accra into a state-of-art museum complex and world-class destination for scholars and heritage tourists.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, a civil rights pioneer and one of the world’s leading black intellectuals and thinkers, became a citizen of Ghana and resided in the West African nation until his death in 1963. Du Bois’ vision of a continent of free and independent African nations was a major influence on Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah.
The historic agreement will grant authority for the W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation to construct a multi-million dollar museum complex to preserve Du Bois’ legacy over a 50-year period. The complex will be designed by Sir David Adjaye, renowned Ghanaian architect and designer of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
The Du Bois Memorial Centre in Accra where Du Bois and his wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois, are buried, opened to the public in 1985, but in recent years had required additional upkeep and maintenance.
The Du Bois Museum Complex aims to transform the centre and create a living museum that revives the transformative spirit and vision of Du Bois for a unified ancestral home for Africans in the diaspora around the world.
The complex will serve as a historic memorial site where visitors can honour his life and legacy, connect to their cultural and ancestral roots, and serve as an impetus to inspire solidarity between people of African descent.
At the signing, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will speak on the significance of the agreement in strengthening historical, cultural, and economic ties between Ghana and the United States and Diaspora Africans.
This agreement will build on the government’s “Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” campaigns that encourage the return of African Diaspora from around the world.
“The Du Bois Museum Complex will usher in a renewed commitment to building an international treasure and historic memorial honoring the legacy of Dr. Du Bois, and fostering unity among the African Diaspora through a vibrant cultural and research center,” said Japhet Aryiku, Executive Director, W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation. Aryiku, a Ghanaian American with more than 40 years of experience in corporate America and the philanthropic community, was inspired at a young age by Du Bois’ writings and ideals.
Speakers at the signing will include leading political, financial, and cultural leaders from the U.S. and Ghana, including Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Ghana’s Tourism, Arts and Culture ministre, Aryiku and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director, Hutchins Centre for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Other speakers are Kwame Anthony Appiah, novelist and professor of philosophy and ethics, New York University and board member, W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation, and Daniel Rose, Chairman, W.E.B. Du Bois Museum Foundation, philanthropist, and leading real estate developer.