Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:11am
North Adams, MA now: 48 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
A History Lesson
By: Nichole Dupont On: 01:20PM / Saturday September 18, 2010
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

We ventured out into town on a Friday afternoon. We meaning me and my children (Anna, 9 and Lucian, almost 7). Town meaning Great Barrington, which can be brutal on a Friday afternoon. But, I promised them ice cream and “something special” before the sun set on the week. Of course, I wasn’t sure what that something special was going to be, but, as always, we found it with no problem.

The ice cream actually wasn’t ice cream at all. It was gelato. Good, cheap gelato from Alex Café in the “hallway” on Main Street. For $2 a scoop (a generous scoop at that) we were treated to the heavenly rich flavors of coconut, coffee, vanilla and some rich, dark chocolate that was nearly impossible to remove from Lucian’s face. Oh, and the very kind, grandmotherly Greek woman behind the counter brought out two huge jugs of sprinkles and let the kids have at them.

“No charge,” she said. “No charge, they should have as much as they want.”

And they did. We strolled down Railroad Street almost in complete silence. The gelato was working its magic on the children. As we made our way back to the car, both of the kids stopped dead in front of the newly painted Du Bois mural.  Lucian got excited.

“Look, Ma, there’s Obama and Martin Luther King. And who’s that guy?” He was pointing to the slim-faced, spray painted rendering of W.E.B. Du Bois.

“That’s Du Bois,” I said. “If it weren’t for him, the other two probably wouldn’t even be on this mural.”

Anna perked up, veering her attention away from her ice cream.

“What’d he do? I mean, he must be a pretty big deal if Martin Luther King was inspired by him.”

I gave them my account of Du Bois as I knew it. I’d read “The Souls of Black Folk” many times ( I was a high school English teacher in a former life) and had given countless lectures

Anna gets thoughtful as she contemplates the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois

to countless teenagers on why Du Bois was so instrumental in the Civil Rights movement that followed him.

They were getting bored.

“You know what,” I said. “I’ll take you to his house where he grew up.”

They were astonished.

“Will we need to fly there?” Anna asked.

“Nope. Just get in the car; it’ll take less than ten minutes.”

We arrived at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite on Route 23 just as the sun was settling low on the horizon. The path to the site was ablaze with orange pine needles and the smell of autumn was unmistakable.

“Where’s the house,” Lucian asked.

“It’s gone,” I said. “It’s been gone for a long time, but this is the place where the house was.”

The air around us became still. Anna’s face turned pensive.

“I can feel why this is an important place,” she said, reading the signs along the short trail. “It’s hard to imagine him as a boy going to school and just being a kid,” she said.

“Yeah, because we’re just kids, too.”

We were all silent; the weight of the place hit us at the same time. Just think, these very children will grow to be something, maybe a Du Bois, maybe a Dr. King, maybe an Obama. And I think they will remember that golden autumn afternoon when they realized that such a thing was possible.

We live in a place rich with history. Don’t ever forget it.



Tags: Du Bois      
News Headlines
Colegrove Park School Project Toured
Pittsfield School, City Officials Prepping For Big Decisions
BArT Students Get Lesson in Chocolate, Child Labor
MBTA Rail Cars to Be Built in Springfield
Trick-or-Treat Hours for Halloween 2014
Hunting Permits Available for Hopkins Forest
BerkshireWorks Plans Events in Honor of Veterans
Adams Civic Club Seeking Broader Membership
Cariddi Hosting Information Forum on Ballot Questions
Lanesborough Committees to Discuss School Funding


Categories:
Culture (10)
History (3)
Museums (1)
Nature (5)
Real Estate (4)
Shopping (6)
Archives:
Tags:
Ideas School Brother Pink Archives Lenox Lee Other Celebrities Mountain Salt Verizon New Closing Bakery Contest Berkshire Service Bird Count Great Fire Station Vacation Birds Barrington Bartholomew's Cobble Darryl's Insects Year's Survey Berkshire Humane Society Projectnorman Pittsfield Great Barrington Rene Wendell Karen
Popular Entries:
The Last of the Insects
Schooled in Passion: Packer's "Women of Will" at Shake & Co.
New To Me: the Boho Exchange
Norman Rockwell Archive Goes Live Online
Late-Night Host Fallon Skis Butternut
Could New Neighbors Be Wall Street Journal Heirs?
Is Verizon Making Good on Its Word?
Pittsfield Through the Lens
Inside/Out not upside down
Third Thursday Feast
Recent Entries:
Schooled in Passion: Packer's "Women of Will" at Shake & Co.
A Place for Us: Re-Wear Brings Style to Sheffield
Richmond Still Looking For Town Clerk
The Last of the Insects
Is Verizon Making Good on Its Word?
Building Collapses in Great Barrington
Could New Neighbors Be Wall Street Journal Heirs?
Mother Nature is No Match for Cheese
Construct Running Out of Emergency Funds
Winter Breakdown at Ben's in Lee


View All
Western Mass Golf
Four Berkshire County golfers qualified for the state...
Football: Franklin Tech vs...
McCann Tech holds on for the win Saturday afternoon. McCann...
Colegrove Park Elementary...
Mayor Richard Alcombright and the City Council were updated...
Boys and Girls Cross Country
Berkshire Chamber Greylock
Boys and Girls Cross Country
The Lenox boys and girls teams both cleaned up on Senior...
Volleyball: St. Joe s vs...
Taconic takes 3 from St. Joseph Tuesday night.
Ramblefest 2014
Adams residents enjoyed entertainment, food, and locally...
Girls Soccer: Hoosac Valley...
The Wahconah girls soccer team on Monday advanced to an...
Berkshire County Classic Golf
Francois Benistand, an exchange student from the south of...
Indashio Fashion Show
Fashion designer Indashio holds his second FAME Festival in...
Football: Pittsfield vs...
Senior quarterback Nick Clayton marched his team 80 yards...
Football: Lee vs Drury
FINAL: Lee Wildcats beat Drury 24 -14.
Football: Taconic vs Hoosac...
FINAL: Hoosac Valley 51-14 over Taconic.
Soccer: Mount Greylock vs...
Eric Hirsch scored twice, and Taylor Carlough played strong...
Girls Soccer: Wahconah vs...
The Mount Greylock girls soccer team is still in search of...
Western Mass Golf
Four Berkshire County golfers qualified for the state...
Football: Franklin Tech vs...
McCann Tech holds on for the win Saturday afternoon. McCann...
Colegrove Park Elementary...
Mayor Richard Alcombright and the City Council were updated...
Boys and Girls Cross Country
Berkshire Chamber Greylock
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved