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Spring Lecture Series

The Measure of a Man: Double Consciousness and the Fashioning of W. E. B. Du Bois

First in a series of lectures in conjunction with the exhibition “Gilded Age Newport in Color”

What you need to know

The Measure of a Man: Double Consciousness and the Fashioning of W. E. B. Du Bois at Rosecliff has closed.

Born in 1868 and passing away in 1963, W. E. B. Du Bois experienced nearly a century of life, spanning from the era of Reconstruction to the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. Throughout this period, his self-presentation underwent a dynamic evolution, mirroring his shifting political ideologies. The focal point of the lecture lies in the initial decades of Du Bois’ life, during which Willie, as he was called as a financially disadvantaged black youth from rural Massachusetts, underwent a remarkable transformation into the esteemed Harvard-educated Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. Despite not being born into privilege, Du Bois transformed himself into one of the most influential black figures of the Gilded Age.

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Dr. Jonathan Michael Square

Dr. Jonathan Michael Square is Assistant Professor of Black Visual Culture at Parsons School of Design. He earned a PhD from New York University, an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Cornell University. Previously, he taught in the Committee on Degree in History and Literature at Harvard University and was a fellow in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He curated the exhibition Past Is Present: Black Artists Respond to the Complicated Histories of Slavery at the Herron School of Art and Design.

Dr. Square is currently preparing for his upcoming show, yet-to-be-named, at the Afric-American Picture Gallery at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in 2025. Dr. Square also leads the digital humanities project Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom. He is in the process of finishing a book manuscript tentatively titled Negro Cloth: How Slavery Birthed the American Fashion Industry, which is under contract at Duke University Press and is slated to be published at the end of 2025.

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