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W.E.B. Du Bois' only grandchild dies at 89, will be buried in Great Barrington

Dec 03, 2021 4:45 am

Felix Carroll is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle Yolanda Du Bois (YO-laund Due-BOICE) Irvin, the only grandchild of African American writer, teacher, sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois.has died at the age of 89. She passed away on November 29, in Fort Collins, CO. Irvin will be buried in Great Barrington alongside her mother and other family members. Her grandfather was born in Great Barrington in 1868. Irvin was an educator and she followed in the footsteps of her grandfather by promoting civil rights, empathy and community. “My mom was a free spirit,” said Jeffrey Peck, of Houston, the youngest of Irvin's four biological children. “She liked to laugh and have fun. She loved people, genuinely, genuinely. And people tended to gravitate to her, to come talk to her.” Peck said the family is planning a celebration in Great Barrington, of his mother’s life and legacy, around the same time as W.E.B. Du Bois’ birthday, on February 23. Irvin was born Oct. 11, 1932, the only child of Arnette Williams and Nina Yolande Du Bois. Irvin attended a boarding school in Harlem and then attended Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies, in Gill, Franklin County. After graduating from high school in Baltimore, Irvin traveled with her grandfather to attend the International Youth Conference in Germany. She later would say the trip was a highlight of her life. She went on to earn a doctorate in psychology at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Irvin is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.