black design in america

Black Data: W.E.B. Du Bois and Data Visualization



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Known for being a prolific author, renowned sociologist, fierce civil rights advocate for people of color, founder of the NAACP, and historian, WEB Du Bois was also a pioneer of data visualization. The American Negro was one initiative of the United States Exhibition to a global audience at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Du Bois was part of a collective of black intellectuals and professionals who contributed to a multidisciplinary display representing the best of African American advancement at the turn of the century. A cornerstone of the exhibit was The Georgia Negro, a set of 63 brightly-colored diagrams visualizing a sociological study by Du Bois and his students at Atlanta University. The dataset made arguments in visual form for the equality and sophistication of black Americans. Du Bois and his team generated avant-garde graphics 20 years before the founding of the Bauhaus. Du Bois and his collaborator’s work is a prototypical case study of design for social innovation, decolonized design pedagogy, and expanded practice.

This class is available to purchase individually, or at a discounted rate when the course pass is purchased.


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    Jason Forrest is a data visualization designer and writer living in New York City. He is the director of the Data Visualization Lab for McKinsey and Company. In addition to being on the board of directors of the Data Visualization Society, he is ...
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    Silas Munro engages multi-modal practices that inspire people to be the best versions of themselves in order to effect positive change on society as a whole. He earned his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. His design studio, Poly-Mode, ...
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Licenses for institutional use are available and customizable to fit your needs. Contact us at [email protected] to provide your students, employees, and designers with access to our BIPOC Design History Course.

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