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W.E.B. Du Bois and Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward

Seminar Leader:
Amy Hillier


Starting with a close read of The Philadelphia Negro, this seminar critically examined the research and thinking of the great scholar and civil rights leader, W.E.B. Du Bois as a way of understanding racism and the “color line” at the turn of the 20th Century. We focused on primary source documents and digital humanities methods, including oral history and geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping and spatial analysis, as ways to engage students of all ages in understanding the contemporary challenges we face relating to race and racism through an historical lens. The seminar explored the possibilities and limitations of systematic empirical data collection and analysis as a means of affecting social change, including the legacies of the settlement house and social survey movements and scientific racism.

Unit TitleAuthor


“Rare Ability and Devotion”: Elizabeth Tyler, first visiting Black nurse of Philadelphia, as Counter-Narrative

Danina Garcia
Keywords: Medicine, Medical History, Henrietta Lacks, Tuberculosis, Nursing History, Philadelphia, African American History

What is Home?

Jeannette Moon
Keywords: maps, mapping, Du Bois, Home, Hansberry, Genre Analysis, survey, storytelling, Wayward Lives, Raisin in the Sun, Seventh Ward

A Class Act

Margo A. Pinckney
Keywords: race relations, data collection

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Making of Accordion Books, Data Portraits, and People Places

Lisa Yuk Kuen Yau
Keywords: The Philadelphia Negro, W.E.B. Du Bois, Placemaking, Social Epidemiology, 7th Ward, Data visualization, Data Portraits, Accordion Books

Unraveling the Block: DuBois, The Seventh Ward and Our Responsibility

Tyriese James Holloway
Keywords: Heterogeneity, space, Protagonism, Place, activism

Correcting Epistemic Injustices and Memorializing 19th Century Black Women

Shaquita Smith
Keywords: marginalized groups, Monuments, murals, epistemic injustice, historically marginalized voices, The Philadelphia Negro, The Old Seventh Ward, Sociology, W.E.B. Du Bois, using sociology to study history, black women

World History or White History?: Deconstructing Race in the World History Classroom

Keeler Park
Keywords: map reading, Equity, History, Geography, discussion, Sociology, world history, society, power, race, primary source, social studies, Slavery, document-based questions, DBQ, annotation, analysis, criticality, Critical Race Theory

The “Peculiar” Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, the Seventh Ward, and The Philadelphia Negro

Robbie Marsden
Keywords: Du Bois, Sociology, Philadelphia Negro, Seventh Ward

DuBois and the Seventh Ward: A Study of The Philadelphia Negro and Its Counternarrative of Black People’s Evolution in Urban America

Ryann Rouse
Keywords: informational text analysis, historical fiction, high school ELA, The Philadelphia Negro, summarization, W.E.B. DuBois, primary sources, Philadelphia, social science, Seventh Ward, cite evidence, Compare and contrast, author’s purpose

The School on Greenberg Street: Using The Philadelphia Negro and The House on Mango Street as models to tell the story of a neighborhood

Katherine Cohen Volin
Keywords: The Philadelphia Negro, The House on Mango Street, W.E.B. Du Bois, 7th Ward