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

What is Home?

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

A Class Act

Margo A. Pinckney
Keywords: data collection, race relations

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

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

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

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

Correcting Epistemic Injustices and Memorializing 19th Century Black Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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