Du Bois Centre to be transformed into a museum complex

The partnership will support the transformation of the current Du Bois Memorial Centre and burial site in Accra into a state-of-the-art museum complex

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the African diaspora to follow in the footsteps of W E B Du Bois by making Africa their home and contributing to the development of the continent.

The president made these remarks on Monday (20 September) at the signing of a historic partnership arrangement between the Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana, an affiliate of the W E B Du Bois Foundation New York, and the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

The partnership, which was initiated by President Akufo-Addo in 2019 during his international tour to promote the Year of Return, will lead to the transformation of the current memorial centre and burial site in Accra into a state-of-the-art museum complex and world-class destination for scholars and heritage tourists.

Living museum

Du Bois, a civil rights pioneer and one of the world’s leading black intellectuals of his time, became a Ghanaian citizen and lived in Ghana until his death in 1963.

Under the partnership, the Du Bois Museum Foundation Ghana will lead the construction of a multimillion-dollar museum complex over a 50-year period to preserve Dr Du Bois’s legacy.

The Du Bois Museum Complex will transform the current cultural and social centre, creating a living museum that revives the transformative spirit and vision of Dr Du Bois for a unified ancestral home for Africans in the diaspora around the world.

Upon completion, the complex will serve as a historic memorial site where visitors can honour the man’s life and legacy, connect with their cultural and ancestral roots, and serve as an impetus to inspire solidarity between people of African descent.

At the signing ceremony in New York, President Akufo-Addo highlighted the significance of the agreement in strengthening historical, cultural, and economic ties between Ghana and the United States and Africans in the diaspora.

Year of Return

The agreement builds on the government’s Year of Return and Beyond the Return campaigns, which that encourage the return to the continent of African diasporans from around the world.

“The Du Bois Museum Complex will usher in a renewed commitment to building an international treasure and historic memorial honouring the legacy of Dr Du Bois, and fostering unity among the African Diaspora through a vibrant cultural and research centre,” said Japhet Aryiku, executive director of the W E B Du Bois Museum Foundation.

Aryiku, a Ghanaian American with more than 40 years of experience in corporate America and the philanthropic community, was inspired at a young age by Du Bois’s writings and ideals.

Ghana as the Mecca

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, signed the agreement on behalf of the government, and paid tribute to the president’s inspirational leadership  in positioning Ghana as the Mecca of the African diaspora.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Kwame Anthony Appiah, the novelist and professor of philosophy and ethics at New York University and board member of the W E B Du Bois Museum Foundation; and Daniel Rose, chairman of the W E B Du Bois Museum Foundation, philanthropist and leading real-estate developer.

Guests included the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta; Shirley Aryorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Her Excellency Hajia Alima Mahama, Ghana’s ambassador to the United States; Akwasi Agyeman, chief executive officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority; and Humphrey Ayim-Darke of the Du Bois Museum Foundation, Ghana.

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