Great Barrington Renames School After Civil Rights Activist Du Bois

A Massachusetts middle school has been renamed after civil rights activist and NAACP cofounder W.E.B. Du Bois.

The Berkshire Hills Regional School District Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to rename Monument Valley Regional Middle School in Great Barrington the W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School, The Berkshire Eagle reported.

An image of W.E.B. Du Bois taken in 1918. (Library of Congress)
An image of W.E.B. Du Bois taken in 1918. (Library of Congress)

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington in 1868 and grew up in town. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University.

The middle school also educates children from Stockbridge and West Stockbridge.

The decision came after voters of the three towns at 2019 annual town meetings said yes to the renaming effort, which was first proposed 15 years ago.

About 200 people logged into the remote public meeting, most in favor of the name change.

“It rings in their hearts and their heads, the pride that they’ll be able to carry,” said Vanessa LeGrande, parent and town resident, of students’ response to the renaming effort.

Opponents cited Du Bois' late-in-life membership in the Communist Party of the United States.


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