A new book collects the incredible visualizations he created for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.
W.E.B. Du Bois wasn’t just one of the foremost civil rights activists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also a data visualization whiz who was able to turn his sociological research into innovative infographics that communicated the reality of the African-American experience to the world. Du Bois spent more than 20 years of his life working as a sociologist at Atlanta University studying black communities. In 1900, he was asked to contribute to the American Negro Exhibit, a showcase at the Exposition Universelle in Paris designed to explore the progress of black Americans since Emancipation. In response, he and his students at Atlanta University created 60 different infographics on topics like literacy rates, property ownership, and population growth of black Americans using research from his sociology lab, U.S. government data from the Census, other reports. More than a century later, these innovative infographics have been collected in a new book
from Princeton Architectural Press called W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America
. Here are seven fascinating Du Bois visualizations included in the book.