For the 1900 Paris Exposition, the renowned African-American scholar and activist W. E. B. Du Bois compiled an exhibition of black life. Seeking to counter negative portrayals and representations in other World’s Fairs of the era, Du Bois put together portraits of middle-class African-Americans, creating a dignified and stirring narrative of people seeking upward economic mobility and social respectability despite the injustices of Jim Crow. Preserved by the Library of Congress, the exhibition, A Small Nation of People: W. E. B. Du Bois and African American Portraits of Progress, has been reassembled and will be on display at the John Hope Franklin Center, beginning this Friday, Jan. 9.
Deborah Willis, winner of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” and author of Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers-1840 to the Present along with an essay in the catalog for this exhibition, will present a Friday talk at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception from 7-9 p.m. Willis will also appear at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh on Jan. 10 at 4 p.m.
The John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies is located at Duke University, 2204 Erwin Road Durham. For more information on the exhibition, call 684-2765 or visit www.jhfc.duke.edu. For more information on Willis’ appearance at Quail Ridge Books, located at 3522 Wade Avenue, call 828-7912 or visit www.quailridgebooks.booksense.com.