It’s not a big secret that we lack content on our leaders who have paved the way, we also have a lack of monuments dedicated to the men and women who gave their all to ensure that Ghana is what it is today. Fortunately, this is not the fate of W.E.B. Du Bois – an African-American civil rights activist who naturalized to become a Ghanaian citizen and spent the later days of his life in Accra.
William Edward Burghardt, Du Bois, in some sphere of his life, was considered a leader; a sociologist, educator, and historian just to highlight a few. It is interesting to note that Du Bois in 1963 naturalized to become a Ghanaian after the United States of America refused to renew his passport. Prior to this happening, Du Bois had already started work on the creation of a new encyclopedia of the African diaspora called the Encyclopedia Africana upon the request of the then President of Ghana- Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. His contribution to development both in Africa, United States of America and the World at large cannot be left without some form of recognition.
In his remembrance a W.E.B. Du Bois Centre was built after he died to keep his legacy alive. The centre which was originally his house in Accra, is now a library. There you will also find his tomb plus that of his wife. The centre located at House No. 22 First Circular Road, Cantonment lies in one of the serene places in Accra and comes with a lot of tranquility and natural tidings. As soon as one steps foot in the center, you are greeted by a head statue of the late Du Bois giving you a vivid imagery of how he actually looked, along with an inscription of his birth date and death date. The library houses pictures of some Ghanaian and African leaders and personalities. One can also access a gallery of manuscripts, other Du Bois Memorabilia, and books by some of the greatest writers the world has ever known.
The centre began operations on 22nd June 1985 to serve the purpose of promoting “the continued pursuit of self-definition for Africa and the Diaspora and the realization of human rights for all people, through research, public education, the arts, and constructive dialogue, in the tradition of Du Bois himself. The Du Bois Centre is a source of, and a space for, productive initiatives among Continental Africans, Diasporans, and all others who share Africa’s aspirations”. The library is open from Monday to Friday at 9:00am – 4:30pm and on Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm but closed on Sundays.
In an era where libraries are losing their relevance to the Internet, we find the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre is a place of excellence and a true depiction of Pan-Africanism. We entreat Ghanaian students and even anybody interested in knowing more about the root of Africa to visit the center. While there do not forget to visit the tomb of Du Bois and his lovely wife. We edify ourselves with this quote we found on one of the walls in the centre “One thing alone I charge you. As you live, believe in life. Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life. The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long”.