April 10, 2009 | Education
Digital Advantage Improves Access To Works of W.E.B. DuBois
For the first time, broadband and digital technology will bring students and teachers across the country and the world access to the thoughts and writings of W.E.B. DuBois, one of the most influential African Americans in U.S. history.
The Verizon Foundation is providing a $200,000 grant to the DuBois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to enable digitization of 100,000 original diaries, letters, photographs and other materials. Once the materials are scanned and catalogued, the university will identify documents to make available to visitors to Thinkfinity.org.
"The Verizon Foundation invests in programs that use technology to enrich the academic experience and help prepare students for success in the 21st century," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon's New England region president. "We are pleased to support the university's effort to make the DuBois papers available to a wider audience."
From his birth in Great Barrington, Mass., in 1868 to his death in Ghana in 1963, DuBois witnessed or took part in many historical events. He was a journalist, social analyst, activist and founder of the NAACP. Widely recognized as one of the top three collections for studying African American history, the 100,000 letters, photographs, manuscripts and memorabilia offer insight into a wide range of social and historical movements.
The UMass announcement of this important two-year project received widespread coverage by the media. More than 200 articles and broadcasts included stories in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, Las Vegas Sun and on National Public Radio, WBZ, WBUR, WFCR and Channel 22.
As a part of the grant, the University of Massachusetts will partner with Verizon's Thinkfinity.org to create grade appropriate learning guides on DuBois' work.
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