Discovering Du Bois: The Niagara Movement
Learning through digitized primary source documents

Digitizing Du Bois
This website is a project of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as part of its effort to improve accessibility to its extensive collection of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois. It uses primary source documents from the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), located in UMass Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library. 

The digitization of the Du Bois archives is a massive undertaking that is expected to be completed in the summer of 2010. Once the process is complete, however, there is still work to be done; availability does not equal ease of access. Although scholars and the public will have free, online access to the scanned files, for many who will want to use the Du Bois archives, the sheer number of documents presented may be daunting. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the university to organize the documents in ways that will provide portals of entry, for example, according to subject matter, persons mentioned, dates, and so on. Furthermore, such portals will provide contextual material for non-scholars who seek to learn this important history, helping to ensure that all who approach this resource will have truly equal access to these primary documents. 

To that end, Discovering Du Bois: The Niagara Movement is a prototype that utilizes a subset of the library’s collection of Du Bois primary source documents – especially letters to and from Dr. Du Bois – as the basis upon which learning modules have been built. These modules are teaching resources for grades 10 and 11, and are keyed to the State of Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Frameworks for those grade levels. The expansion of this project will feature additional lesson topics and learning modules for all secondary levels. For more information about the lesson plans, and to explore the lessons on this site, click here.

Click here to go to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library's website, Du Bois Central.