You Must See W. E. B. Du Bois’s Hand-Drawn Infographics On Black Life In 1900

These graphs are a breathtaking look into the past.
A hand-illustrated infographic by DuBois.
A hand-illustrated infographic by DuBois.
Library of Comgress

If you’d like a vivid glimpse at black history, look no further than W.E.B. Du Bois’s striking, hand-drawn illustrations about black life in America after the end of slavery.

The graphs, recently digitized by the Library of Congress, originally went on display as part of the “Exhibit of American Negroes” at Paris’s Exposition Universelle in 1900. Organized by Du Bois and fellow black intellectuals and activists Booker T. Washington and Thomas J. Calloway, the exhibit’s aim was to highlight the triumphs and harsh realities of the black experience in the United States.

Du Bois created well over 60 infographics that displayed a rich amount of data (compiled by Atlanta University) that tracked everything from the amount of property owned by blacks in the United States, the number of freemen versus slaves during and after the institution of slavery, and the rate of education amongst blacks in America. The data offers a dynamic glimpse of the progress made by African-Americans in the wake of slavery, in spite of major institutional roadblocks.

DuBois wrote in 1900 that the exhibit, which also included hundreds of photographs and portrait of African-Americans, aimed to be “an honest straightforward exhibit of a small nation of people, picturing their life and development without apology or gloss, and above all made by themselves.”

View some of the striking graphics below:

The Georgia Negro
Library of Congress
The Rise Of The Negroes From Slavery To Freedom In One Generation
Library of Congress
Proportion Of Freemen And Slaves Among American Negroes
Library of Congress
White And Black Population In the United States
Library of Congress
Value of Household and Kitchen Furniture Owned By Georgia Negroes
Library of Congress
City And Rural Population - 1890
Library of Congress
Negro Property In Two Cities Of Georgia
Library of Congress
Slaves And Free Negroes
Library of Congress
Distribution of Negroes In The United States
Library of Congress
Conjugal Condition Of American Negroes According To Age Periods
Library of Congress
Proportion of Negroes In The Total Population Of The United States
Library of Congress
Assessed Valuation Of All Taxable Property Owned By Georgia Negroes
Library of Congress