Nicole Deyton
Artist, Designer, Teller of Stories

Design Blog

W.E.B. Du Bois' Hand Drawn Infographics

I recently came across an article by The Public Domain Review that revealed infographics, drawn by W.E.B. Du Bois and his students. Du Bois was the first African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard. He taught history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University and went on to become one of the founders of the NAACP.

In 1900 he traveled to Paris to "present a groundbreaking exhibition on the state of African-American life — 'The Exhibit of American Negroes' — which, according to Du Bois, attempted to show '(a) The history of the American Negro. (b) His present condition. (c) His education. (d) His literature.'” 

What's striking about the images, other than the information they convey, is the way in which they were created—by hand. These images go beyond standard graphs and charts to intersect with art and design. Before you even know the content or context, you are drawn in by the visuals.

The following images are from that exhibition (and are subsequently now found in the Public Domain).

 

More information on the exhibit can be found at Hyperallergic.