Richard Blake, FNSS

The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project selected Richard Blake, FNSS to create a monument to W.E.B. Du Bois. Blake was one of 18 artists who applied for the project to celebrate the contributions of the American sociologist, socialist, historian, and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist who was born and raised in the Berkshires of southwestern Vermont. By spring 2023, the field was whittled down to three finalists before Blake was chosen in August.

Blake earned a degree from the Tyler School of Fine Arts, Temple University. He recently completed a statue of Frederick Douglass for Abolition Park in New Bedford, MA. His other works include a sculpture of Rosa Parks for the U.S. Architects of The Capitol, the Martin Luther King Monument for Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the Martin Luther King Monument at the University of CA, Peace Garden. He recently accepted NSS’ 2023 Medal of Honor for his service to and advancement of American sculpture.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963), born and educated in Great Barrington, was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard achieving world fame as a sociologist, historian, and founder of the NAACP. A prolific author, his collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, is a seminal work in African American literature.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project is working under the auspices of The Non-Profit Center of the Berkshires. The goal is to raise $350,000 to create the monument and promote the legacy of Du Bois to the community and its children. The sculpture will be placed in front of the Mason Public Library in Great Barrington, MA. In Blake’s depiction, DuBois is seated on the library steps greeting visitors to the 110-year-old institution.