How W.E.B Du Bois Used Data Visualization to Debunk Social Darwinism and Tell A Story of Resilience



Du Bois was a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. He established a sociology program in 1897, now recognized as the first school of American sociology. It was here that he led a team of students to produce 60 full-color charts, graphs, maps and tables on what had changed for African Americans since slavery. This collection was generated from a mix of existing records and empirical data collected by his sociological laboratory. The visualizations stressed one narrative; that the African American community had made progress.  The colorful, hand-drawn illustrations showed that literacy rates for African Americans were rising and that African American ownership of property and land was increasing. African American businesses were growing and so were the number of patents for inventions. 

Author(s): Allen Hillery

Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: Data Literacy