BLACK VOICES
02/09/2017 03:19 pm ET

You Must See W. E. B. Du Bois’s Hand-Drawn Infographics On Black Life In 1900

These graphs are a breathtaking look into the past.

Library of Comgress
A hand-illustrated infographic by DuBois.

If you’d like a vivid glimpse at black history, look no further than W.E.B. Du Bois’s striking, hand-drawn illustrations about black life in America after the end of slavery.

The graphs, recently digitized by the Library of Congress, originally went on display as part of the “Exhibit of American Negroes” at Paris’s Exposition Universelle in 1900. Organized by Du Bois and fellow black intellectuals and activists Booker T. Washington and Thomas J. Calloway, the exhibit’s aim was to highlight the triumphs and harsh realities of the black experience in the United States. 

Du Bois created well over 60 infographics that displayed a rich amount of data (compiled by Atlanta University) that tracked everything from the amount of property owned by blacks in the United States, the number of freemen versus slaves during and after the institution of slavery, and the rate of education amongst blacks in America. The data offers a dynamic glimpse of the progress made by African-Americans in the wake of slavery, in spite of major institutional roadblocks. 

DuBois wrote in 1900 that the exhibit, which also included hundreds of photographs and portrait of African-Americans, aimed to be “an honest straightforward exhibit of a small nation of people, picturing their life and development without apology or gloss, and above all made by themselves.”

View some of the striking graphics below:

  • The Georgia Negro
    Library of Congress
  • The Rise Of The Negroes From Slavery To Freedom In One Generation
    Library of Congress
  • Proportion Of Freemen And Slaves Among American Negroes
    Library of Congress
  • White And Black Population In the United States
    Library of Congress
  • Value of Household and Kitchen Furniture Owned By Georgia Negroes
    Library of Congress
  • City And Rural Population - 1890
    Library of Congress
  • Negro Property In Two Cities Of Georgia
    Library of Congress
  • Slaves And Free Negroes
    Library of Congress
  • Distribution of Negroes In The United States
    Library of Congress
  • Conjugal Condition Of American Negroes According To Age Periods
    Library of Congress
  • Proportion of Negroes In The Total Population Of The United States
    Library of Congress
  • Assessed Valuation Of All Taxable Property Owned By Georgia Negroes
    Library of Congress

ALSO ON HUFFPOST

CONVERSATIONS