February is Black History Month, and I felt inclined to do a portrait study of W.E.B DuBois. I was introduced to this civil rights activist via my boyfriend whose favorite quote from Dubois is: "The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become." In the spirit of that quote, I did the portrait in ink wash and charcoal instead of digitally, the medium I work in more often.
DuBois was born in 1868 and grew up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts which has an amazing mural dedicated to him. He was an author and educator, ran for NY senate, was one of the founders of the NAACP, was an advocate of birth control and inter-racial marriage and opposed the use of nuclear weapons. He died at age 95, the day before Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream speech."
DuBois was an eloquent speaker, and I'm having trouble narrowing down some of my favorite quotes.
"But art is not simply works of art; it is the spirit that knows Beauty, that has music in its soul and the color of sunsets in its headkerchiefs; that can dance on a flaming world and make the world dance, too."
His thoughts on war and education are still relevant and these two jumped out at me:
"Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States."
"What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa."