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Community Raises $100,000 to Save Former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington

March 30, 2017 — Clinton Church Restoration, LLC, has surpassed its initial goal of raising $100,000 to purchase, restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church at 9 Elm Court in Great Barrington. The announcement comes just one day before the organization’s March 31 deadline. 

CCR’s goal is to create a vital and self-sustaining entity for community use that celebrates and honors the 130-year history of the former Clinton Church. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, the church was the spiritual, political and cultural hub for local African Americans. It was also a place of significance to W.E.B. Du Bois, Great Barrington’s most famous native son.

Anyone interested in volunteering with CCR should email saveamechurch@gmail.com. Donations to the Clinton Church Restoration fund may be made online, or by check made payable to Housatonic Heritage (with ‘Clinton Church Restoration’ in the memo line) and sent to PO Box 611, Great Barrington, MA 01230. To donate online, visit www.GBClintonChurch.org. 


Guided Tours at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite - 2017 Tour Schedule July 1 through September 2:

The tour follows a loop wooded trail that takes visitors to the remains of Du Bois’s ancestral home, where visitors will learn about Du Bois’s family and way of life as revealed through archaeological investigations and historic documents. Along the way, visitors will learn about Du Bois’s journey from Great Barrington to the world stage, as well as the site’s beginnings as a memorial.

Meet at the Homesite parking area. Please note, presently there are no bathroom facilities at the Homesite.


Julian Bond 1940-2015

We at the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site mourn the passing of a truly great American, Julian Bond. He substantially changed the course of U.S. history through his work to enhance the political and civil rights for African Americans, and thereby for all citizens. We are particularly sad at his passing because of his connection to W.E.B. Du Bois, and especially to the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite. 

Dr. Du Bois was a friend of Mr. Bond's father, the educator Horace Mann Bond, and there is a photograph of the very young Julian holding Dr. Du Bois's hand that you can find on the internet, for instance at https://theberkshireedge.com/julian-bond-and-w-e-b-du-bois/. Among Mr. Bond's many other accomplishments and contributions he served as Chairman of the Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1998-2010 and was a member of the Board at the time of his death, an organization with which W.E.B. Du Bois had a famously formative, supportive and disputative relationship well before Mr. Bond's time on the Board. 

And, Mr. Bond has played important roles in the creation of the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. He served as the keynote speaker at the contentious dedication ceremony organized by Mr. Walter Wilson and Dr. Edmund Gordon at the Homesite in October of 1969. A 10 minute movie is curated in the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers in the Special Collections and University Archives of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It includes an extensive excerpt from Mr. Bond's speech, in which he trenchantly analyzes the social injustices of the 1960s, an analysis that in sadly too many ways holds true for today. You can view the movie at http://credo.library.umass.edu/view/full/mums312-b246-i001 or http://bit.ly/1KvQd8T.

And more recently, Mr. Bond and his wife, Pam Horowitz, have supported the W.E.B. Du National Historic Site as members of the Niagara Circle, support for which we are very grateful.

We are all better for what Mr. Bond helped foster in our world. We will miss his astute political analyses, his organizational acumen, and his personal style.