Encyclopaedia Africana Project
"A Pan African Dream Come True"

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Legacy Archive Document
Date: 1999

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EAP History Archive

An Overview of the Encyclopaedia Africana Project

by Dr. David Graham Du Bois
Son of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois

The vision of a complete and accurate accounting of the history of Africa and the African diaspora has been revived by the sons of the two leaders who conceptualized and created the foundation for its publication.

The two visionaries, the late Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, the world - renowned Harvard scholar and social scientist, and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana conceived an idea that would correct the negative and inaccurate accounting of African history by publishing a comprehensive set of volumes which they named the Encyclopaedia Africana®™

The 1960s was a time of both revolution and vision around the world, particularly in third world countries newly independent from western colonialism and in the United States among black Americans who were in the midst of the black power and civil rights movements, and who were reclaiming their African heritage. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, and hundreds of black and African evolutionary-minded leaders were closing the social and historical gap that had existed since European invasion of the African continent during the transatlantic slave trade.

The Du Bois and Nkrumah vision of an Encyclopaedia Africana®™ would provide African and African-Americans with an African-centered presentation of their history and development. It would provide readers with an authentic history of Africa and African life presented as peer-reviewed articles in a series of volumes. Each volume would cover an aspect of African life, such as architecture, biographies, economic, history, religion, medicine, etc. Initial support for the project came the Organization for African Unity (OAU), and participating African countries.  In 1962, the Republic of Ghana established a secretariat to implement the project and has served as the host country for the project. However, by 1967  the death W.E.B. Du Bois and the displacement of Kwame Nkrumah's government during a time of drastic social and political changes in Africa, caused a reduction in the projects' funding. In spite of those factors, three (3) volumes of the encyclopedia were completed. The entire project is expected to encompass a 20 volume set.

The completed volumes are:

  • Volume 1:  Ethiopia and Ghana
  • Volume 2:  Sierra Leone and Zaire
  • Volume 3:  South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland

W.E.B. Du Bois [1868-1963]
W.E.B. Du Bois

"Peace will be my applause."

-- William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
Founding Director Encyclopaedia Africana Project
Accra, Ghana, West Africa
April 1962

The immediate goals of the Encyclopaedia Africana Project are:

  1. To strengthen the structure and staffing;
  2. To generate and review completed articles for the next two (2) volumes of the Encyclopaedia Africana: Dictionary of African Biography®™ which will focus on Nigeria and Egypt;
  3. To have articles that have been accumulated on Libya, translated into English and prepare them for publication. These articles are now in Arabic;
  4. To facilitate interaction and cooperation among scholars of African biography and history;
  5. To initiate the translation of volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the Encyclopaedia Africana: Dictionary of African Biography®™ into French and Arabic.
David  Graham Du Bois
Dr. David Du Bois is the son of W.E.B. Du Bois and a professor at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
EAP Articles by David Graham Du Bois

76 Nile Street, Apt. 24 
Cairo, Egypt  12612

P.O. Box 144
Amherst, MA, USA  01004

e-mail: dubois@afroam.umass.edu

David Graham Du Bois

Photo by Edward Cohen
North Amherst, MA (1994)
BIO: David Du Bois


Encyclopaedia Africana Dictionary of African Biography
Encyclopaedia Africana Dictionary of African Biography

Encyclopaedia Africana Project
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