Black News and News Makers in History: Shirley DuBois

African American news from Pasadena - Black News and News Makers in History - recognizes Shirley DuBois this week in Black historyShirley Graham DuBois, author, playwright, composer, and activist, married W.E.B. DuBois, traveling with him worldwide, assisting with his causes and writing.

She was born Lola Shirley Graham on November 11, 1896 in Evansville, Indiana. Her father, a minister, moved his family around the country quite a bit. Her earliest memories are of living in New Orleans—and reading novels such as Ben Hur and Quo Vadis as a child. Young Graham graduated from high school in Spokane, Washington, and though soon married, her husband died within three years leaving her with two sons.

Feeling a need for a better education to provide for her family, Graham moved to Paris in 1929 to study music composition. A year later, she returned to America teaching at Morgan College in Baltimore for two years. She received her undergraduate and master degrees from Oberlin College in 1934 and 1935.

Graham then taught music and arts at Agricultural and Industrial State College in Nashville, she also became a supervisor at the Chicago Federal Theater in 1936. It was at this time that she wrote a number of plays, Coal Dust 1938, I Gotta Home 1939, and Dust to Earth 1941, she also wrote a play for radio Track Thirteen in 1940.

In the late 1940s, Graham became a member of Sojourners for Truth and Justice, an African-American organization concerned with the global women's liberation.

Shirley Graham married W.E.B. DuBois in 1951, a man she had met as a child of thirteen and admired for many years. After many world tours with her husband, she became a citizen of Ghana in 1961. After her husband died in 1963, she took over a number of his unfinished projects, yet in 1967 she was forced to leave during a military take over.

Relocating to Cairo, Egypt where her son worked as a journalist, DuBois wrote and published for the rest of her life. Some of her works include: His Day is Marching On, 1971, Game! Abdul Nasser, Son of the Nile, 1974, Julius K. Nyerere, Teacher of Africa, 1975, and a novel, The Zulu Heart.

Shirley DuBois died from breast cancer March 27, 1977 in Beijing, China, where she had gone for treatment.

From www.anothershadeofcolor, http://www.library.umass.edu, and Wikipedia.


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