Portrait bust of W.E.B. Du Bois from Inge Haridson's "Negro Giants in History" series. W.E.B. Du Bois (c.1868-1963) was an African American civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist, calling for the unity of African people. He was the first African American graduate of Harvard University and later became the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. Du Bois gained national attention in his opposition of Booker T. Washington's ideas of social integration between whites and blacks. Du Bois campaigned instead for increased political representation for blacks in order to guarantee civil rights, and the formation of a Black elite that would work for the progress of the African American race.
In seeing the need for heroes in today's world, Inge Hardison (1904-) created the series of sculpted portraits titled, "Negro Giants in History," for which she is best known today. The mantle-size busts were a response to the omission of Black Americans in the national Hall of Fame in Washington DC.
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia Ms. Hardison attended Tennessee A&I University, Vassar College, and the Arts Students League during the 1930’s. Haridson created a 24 inch portrait of Sojourner Truth, which was presented to Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Ms. Haridson, still creating her sculpted portraits in her Harlem apartment has said, “During my long life I have enjoyed using different ways to distill the essences of my experiences so as to share for the good they might do in the lives of others.”
The Robbins Center Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, gift of The Robbins Center For Cross Cultural Communication, in memory of Warren M. Robbins