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59th Anniversary of Du Bois passing commemorated in Accra

BY: Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye
Virginia Palmer (3rd from left), the US Ambassador, being assisted by other dignitaries to place a wreath on the tomb of Dr Du Bois. Looking on is Okraku Mantey (left), Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Virginia Palmer (3rd from left), the US Ambassador, being assisted by other dignitaries to place a wreath on the tomb of Dr Du Bois. Looking on is Okraku Mantey (left), Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

The 59th anniversary of the passing of the Pan-Africanist and historian, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, has been commemorated in Accra.

The commemoration, which was held at the W.E.B Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture, was attended by dignitaries, friends, family and well-wishers who paid tribute to the memory and works of the Pan-Africanist.

Also present at the event, organised by the W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation, were the US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer; a member of the US House of Representatives, Barbara Lee; the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, and the Paramount Chief of the Osu Traditional Area, Notse Nii Nortey Owuo IV.

The Man Du Bois

The Executive Director of the W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation, Japhet Aryiku, described Dr Du Bois as a man of peace and civil and human rights leader who spoke against the exploitation and persecution of people and also preached the need for peaceful coexistence everywhere.

He said an agreement was signed between the foundation and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to refurbish the Du Bois Centre into a vital museum complex, and that the sod would be cut for the commencement of the project during the commemoration of the 60th anniversary next year.

Strong ties

The US Ambassador said Dr Du Bois struggled for justice in the US and his life in Ghana should remind the people of the strong ties between the two countries.

“But, even more importantly, Dr Du Bois’ life reminds us that the US needs to continue to march for better democracy,” she added.

According to her, championing rights and justice for all democracies was diffi cult, but such a challenge must not prevent people from talking about democracy.

Role

Mr Okraku Mantey said Dr Du Bois played a significant role in the country’s independence struggle.

He said the decision to revamp the Du Bois Centre was part of the government’s vision to create a more vibrant Pan-Africanism for the socio-economic transformation of Africa.

“The relevance of the centre cannot be overemphasised, as it will attract more tourists and create jobs for the youth, among other benefits,” he added.

A great grandson of Dr Du Bois, Jeffery Peck, eulogised his great grandfather, describing him as a visionary who promoted love and respect among all races.

He recounted how his mother had been eager to visit the fi nal resting place of Dr Du Bois during the COVID-19 pandemic and described the feeling of having to see the fi nal resting place of his great grandfather as gratifying.