Online Community Read of The Souls of Black Folk

Classic work by W.E.B. Du Bois to be explored during Clinton Church Restoration’s 14-week series

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA, September 22, 2020 — Clinton Church Restoration is hosting an online community read of The Souls of Black Folk byW.E.B. Du Bois. The 14-week series, which will take place via Zoom, will begin Tuesday, October 13 at 7pm, and held weekly on Tuesday evenings (with breaks for Election Day and holidays) through February 16, 2021, the week before Dr. Du Bois’ birthday. Each week, Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, Clinton Church Restoration board member and Professor Emeritus at MCLA, will be joined by a guest scholar for a discussion of a single chapter of Du Bois’ classic text. There is no charge but donations are welcome and registration is required. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to participate.

“This is a book that everyone should read,” said Dr. Jones-Sneed. “Du Bois was an eloquent and approachable writer and his work helps us understand the history of racism in the United States, and how that history is relevant today.” The book’s fourteen essays combine classic elegy, autobiographical sketches, sociological studies, short fiction, theology, political protest, musicology, historical profiles, biblical allusion, education, collective economics, women’s issues, race relations, literature classics, and Greek mythology. 

Guest scholars joining Dr. Jones-Sneed during the series are Dr. MaryNell Morgan-Brown, Dr. Rashida Braggs, Dr. Barbara Krauthamer, Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Dr. Kendra Field, Dr. Barbara McCaskill, Dr. Horace Ballard, Dr. Gretchen Long, Kiese Laymon, Dr. Dolan Hubbard, Dr. Todd Allen, Dr. Nadine Wedderburn, Dr. Ruby Inez Vega, Dr. David Levering Lewis and Dr. Martha Jones.

Clinton Church Restoration is creating an African American Cultural Center at the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington. The A.M.E. Zion Society which funded and built the church at 9 Elm Court in 1887, was a formative influence in the life of the Du Bois. The National Register property was purchased in 2017 with widespread support from the community. It is currently under renovation and plans to create a visitor and cultural center that will return it to the center of community life are underway.

This online Community Read is sponsored by Housatonic Heritage, Berkshire Property Agents, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Berkshire Money Management, Berkshire Coop, Lee Bank, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, and David and Julie McCarthy. Inspiration for the series came from a Monday morning discussion series called “Breakfast with Du Bois” held at the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst.

The full schedule and registration links are available on the events page.

W.E.B. Du Bois to George Floyd: 150 Years of Resistance

The Triplex Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival and Clinton Church Restoration present a weekend of free films

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA, September 15, 2020 —The Triplex Cinema and Berkshire International Film Festival have teamed up with the nonprofit Clinton Church Restoration to offer a weekend of documentary films on October 3-4. The event will feature free live screenings of four documentaries that address African American resistance to racial injustice over a span of 150 years: W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices, I Am Not Your Negro, John Lewis: Good Trouble, and Whose Streets? An outdoor program of speakers will kick off the event on October 3 at 12 noon. The speakers will be Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Sabrina Allard, and Brooke Bridges.

“Now is the time for action, we need to do something, not just talk about it,” said Triplex owner Richard Stanley, who decided to take local action after being inspired by the movement for Black Lives. The Triplex will be opening its doors for the weekend as part of Governor Baker’s Phase III reopening plan. In accordance with state guidelines, all screenings will take place in reduced capacity theaters that allow for physical distancing.

Stanley selected Clinton Church Restoration, which is developing plans for an African American Cultural Heritage Center at the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church just two blocks from the Triplex, as the beneficiary of funds raised through event sponsorships and donations. Once restored, the former church will offer exhibits and programming that celebrate local African American history and interpret the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois, who was born and raised in Great Barrington. Stanley has been a supporter of the project, mentioned in a recent Architectural Digest article titled, “When Architecture and Racial Justice Intersect,” since its inception in 2016. 

“African American history is American history,” said Clinton Church Restoration chairman Wray Gunn, Sr., “but one of our country’s great injustices is not telling the full story. We want to change that by preserving Great Barrington’s first Black church as a place where people can learn about and celebrate the rich history of our community and be inspired by the life of NAACP cofounder W.E.B. Du Bois.”

The films will be shown on October 3rd and 4th, with two showings for each film. Dates and times are available on the theater’s website and reservations are required. There will be a streaming option for a small fee for those unable to attend in person, which will be available for two weeks starting October 3. A portion of the streaming cost will go to the Clinton Church Restoration project. For schedule and tickets, visit

Sponsors to date include The Triplex Cinemas, Berkshire International Film Festival, Housatonic Heritage, Berkshire Property Agents, the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail and Housatonic River Walk, a project of Great Barrington Land Conservancy.

Reserve your tickets at
Streaming options will be available on October 3
Click here to make a donation to support the restoration