Description Mr. Arthur McFarlane
"W.E.B. Du Bois: A View of the Veil"
McFarlane offers an informed and intimate account of his great-grandfather, W.E.B. Du Bois. From the commencement address in 1890 at Harvard University on the confederate president Jefferson Davis, it was clear to McFarlane that he was "blood of my blood," of a unique soul. On the topic of the 1895 Booker T. Washington debate, he felt that only a few differences can be highlighted between the two men, that of northern verses southern birth, and one being born a slave and the other, Du Bois, being free. The 1900 Paris Exposition is noted for offering pictures and words to change the perceptions of black people (see "A Small Nation"). Coming South to Atlanta University and losing his seven-month old son to an illness that a white doctor would not treat, and the environment of lynching prevalent in the South, both changed Du Bois from being just a researcher to someone who had to DO things. Souls of Black Folk (1903) was written when Du Bois was 35. His involvement with the NAACP and The Crisis were a result of the rise in the national terrorism of lynching. The 1920s saw his great-grandfather's criticism shift to Marcus Garvey and seeing his "Back to Africa" as an inappropriate and incomplete solution to the Negro problem. The bookend of this discussion, The Gift of Black Folk (1924), was an attempt to explain to black people, and to the United States, a range of accomplishments achieved by the Negro. Du Bois would leave NAACP to go back to the Atlanta University in 1934, yet never avoided being an agitator, and a doer, for Americans and the African Diaspora. Questions McFarlane raises includes, "Du Bois studied the social determinants of health in "The Philadelphia Negro" (1899). Why is black folks' health so much worse than whites'?" Mr. McFarlane has worked for 23 years in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and is currently an evaluator in the Epidemiology, Planning and Evaluation Branch in the Prevention Services Division. He credits Du Bois with both his interest in health disparities work and as encouraging his will to be his own person: a man who lives beyond the veil.
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