The W.E.B Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture in Accra is to be redeveloped into a museum complex in honour of the life and legacy of the African-American civil rights activist.
The centre is the final resting place of the late Dr William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois, who was also a sociologist, author, historian, and Pan-Africanist, and his wife, Shirley.
The project, estimated to cost between $50 million and $70 million would have a retail pavilion, memorial pavilion, outdoor auditorium, Du Bois House, institute building and Marcus Garvey Guest House.
The Executive Director of the W.E.B Du Bois Museum Foundation, Japhet Aryiku, disclosed this at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Dr Du Bois’ passing at the centre on Sunday.
He said a project agreement between the government and the foundation had reached its final stages, and was expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
He said the efforts to undertake the project started in 2019, after there was a general consensus that the late Dr Du Bois deserved “a flashier and more decent resting place.”
He said various stakeholders across the world had pledged to support the funding of the project, adding that the work would be completed between three to five years.
Mr Aryiku said the bungalow where he lived would be restored to its former state while the museum would have a library that would display some of Dr Du Bois’ books.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, confirmed the agreement, adding that the government was taking all steps to preserve and refurbish the web centre as a global centre of excellence and tourism.
He said the government recognised the late Dr Du Bois’ role in shaping dynasty history, and its lasting impact on global struggle for human rights.
He described the late Dr Du Bois as a gentleman and prominent African American activists who throughout his career emphasised the importance of education as a tool for social upliftment.
“Let us recommit ourselves to the ideas Du Bois held dear. Let us try for a world where race, gender and background are not barriers to opportunity and dignity,” he said.
The US Ambassador , Virginia Palmer, said 60 years after the passing of Dr Du Bois, his beliefs and activism had influenced many changes around the world and he was worthy of celebration.
The Great Grandson of the late Dr Du Bois, Jeffrey Peck, and other speakers at the event took turns to pay tribute to the late activist and his wife, as well as lay wreaths in their honour.
Born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Dr Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, in Accra, Ghana, after spending many years fighting for civil rights and equality.
He was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR
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