Arthur McFarlane, Harlem native and great-grandson of American civil rights-activist W.E.B. Du Bois, will speak to Community College of Aurora students on Nov. 14. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited; attendees are asked to arrive early for the 3:40-4:55 p.m. event, which will be held in the Fine Arts Building Forum, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, in Aurora.
A longtime employee of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), McFarlane enjoys speaking to young people who are discovering Du Bois for the first time. “I like having a dialogue with people who know him and know where he fits in their lives,” he says. “Most of all, I enjoy talking about where my ‘Grandpa’ fits in history.” McFarlane plans to share with CCA students Du Bois’ relevance for today and how his great-grandfather’s legacy has an impact on society today.
W.E.B. Du Bois is known for many achievements. He was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard, and he was cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP’s official biography presents Du Bois as a leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. “Du Bois’s life and work were an inseparable mixture of scholarship, protest activity, and polemics,” the biography states. “All of his efforts were geared toward gaining equal treatment for black people in a world dominated by whites and toward marshaling and presenting evidence to refute the myths of racial inferiority.”
McFarlane was educated at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, at the State University of New York at Brockport, and at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has served as co-chair for the CDPHE Employee Diversity Advisory Committee and as treasurer for the Colorado Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Coalition. He has been co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program and Chair of the Board of the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Assault. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Following his public presentation, McFarlane will host a private discussion at the college with CCA’s Mile High United Way Pathways Scholars. His discussion will be designed to offer motivation to this select group of students to continue their education, despite the challenges they face.