For the past three decades, archaeologists from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have been conducting extensive archaeological investigations at the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This was once the home of William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois, one of the 20th century’s leading African-American scholars who challenged the institutionalized racism of the Jim Crow era.
W.E.B. Du Bois lived at the site as a child, which was continuously owned by his relatives and members of the Burghardt family. Du Bois owned the property from 1928 until 1954, when the home was demolished. While the structure no longer stands, the site is listed as a National Historic Landmark, designed with a series of trails and informational signs to serve as a contemplative space for public interpretation of African-American heritage in New England.
The goal of principal archaeologists Dr. Robert Paynter and Prof. Whitney Battle-Baptiste has been to assess the extent and integrity of the material landscape, specifically with regards to the lives of an African-American family who resided at the site for over 130 years in what Du Bois refers to in his writings as “The House of the Black Burghardts.” The archaeologists have been striving to interpret how these artifacts illuminate and reconstruct ideologies of domestic African-American spaces and the enveloping cultural narrative of New England.
This episode of The DIG as well as all artifacts in our 365 Days of Artifacts series was made possible by Emily Felder. Emily is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in Western Massachusetts.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.””
There’s a great documentary on Polish poster art up on Vimeo that runs close to an hour. It’s definitely worth watching, given how little footage is freely floating around out there of some of these designers discussing their craft.
I yanked a few quotes from film directors and artists that…
A bit of advice on honing your craft from Sir Kenneth Branagh: “Practice, practice, practice. If you want to write, read things. If you want to direct, watch things. If you want to act, act in things… Don’t think too much, just do.”