The Hand-Drawn Infographics of W.E.B. Du Bois

You probably know W.E.B. Du Bois as a civil rights icon, a writer, a speaker, and a leader in the fight against Jim Crow laws, nuclear war and injustice.

But did you know that he was also a talented infographics artist?

The folks over at The Public Domain Review—a brilliant online repository of the graphic arts and historical ephemera—gathered these remarkable data visualizations Mr. Du Bois presented in 1900.

These infographics first appeared in Du Bois’ exhibition, “The Exhibit of American Negroes,” which he presented at both the First Pan-African Conference in London and the Paris Exposition. According to The Public Domain Review, the exhibition featured hundreds of photographs, patents and books by African Americans, a statuette of Frederick Douglass (who, contrary to some current belief, had passed away five years prior), as well as 58 hand-drawn infographics visualizing African American populations, occupations, places of origin and more.

Check out some of the charts below, and read more about them here. (Caption info sourced from Hyperallergic.)

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“Proportion of negroes in the total population of the United States,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)

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“City and rural population. 1890,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)

[Related: Data Humanism: The Revolutionary Future of Data Visualization]

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“Slaves and free negroes,” graphed between 1790 and 1870, from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)

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“Distribution of negroes in the United States” (1900) (via Library of Congress)

duboisdata04-768x970“Occupations of negroes and whites in Georgia,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)


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dubois-hand-drawn-infographics-12“Income and Expenditure of 150 Negro Families in Atlanta, GA, USA,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)
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“Assessed value of household and kitchen furniture owned by Georgia Negroes,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)

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“Assessed value of household and kitchen furniture owned by Georgia Negroes,” from W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘The Georgia Negro: A Study’ (1900) (via Library of Congress)


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