W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America
with Silas Munro
W. E. B. Du Bois was a prolific author, renowned sociologist, fierce civil rights advocate, co-founder of the NAACP, and a historian of black lives. He was also a pioneer of data visualization. Working with ink, gouache, graphite, and photographic prints, Du Bois and his student and alumni collaborators at Atlanta University generated crisp, dynamic, and modern graphics as a form of infographic activism. 63 brightly colored broad sheets were exhibited in Paris and made 20 years before the founding of the Bauhaus.These visualizations offer a prototype of design practices now vital in our contemporary world—of design for social innovation, data visualization in service to social justice, and the decolonization of pedagogy.
About Silas Munro
Silas Munro is a partner of Poly-Mode. His studio has collaborated with MoMA, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Mark Bradford, and the Wynwood Arts District. Munro’s writing appears in Slanted, Walker Gradient, and a forthcoming book, W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America published by Princeton Architectural Press. He has been a visiting critic at MICA, RISD, and Yale University. Munro is Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art and Design and advisor at Vermont College of Fine Arts.