Jeffrey Peck, the great-grandson of W.E.B. Du Bois, introduces former NAACP president Cornell William Brooks at a celebration of Du Bois' 150th birthday at the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. Credit: Stephanie Zollshan / The Berkshire Eagle via AP

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What a moment we find ourselves in! Just beneath the surface, a fierce battle rages over who gets to tell the truth about our history, and how that truth permeates our culture, both positively and negatively.

I am daily appalled at the selective distortion at play in my history classes, and I am so hungry now, for real American history. I am educating myself so I can be part of the population willing and able to address our wrongs with honesty and humility.

One of the best social histories turns out to be the biography of W.E.B. Du Bois (and Vol. II, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963) by David Lewis, awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Du Bois was a prime mover in the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), formed in 1909, and served as editor of its journal “The Crisis” for 25 years. His biographer reveals in great detail the social forces at work — including at the highest levels of government — to keep Black people suppressed, hemmed in, cut off from opportunity, decade after decade.

As we strain to comprehend structural racism, we understand the need for united effort to dismantle the persistent lethal dehumanization of people of color. Please support the Greater Bangor Area Chapter of the NAACP!

Where  once nearly a quarter of Maine’s population belonged to the KKK, let that many and more now belong to the NAACP!

Diane Oltarzewski