Documentary Screenings

W.E.B. Du Bois – A Biography in Four Voices, a documentary film by visiting MLK scholar, Louis Massiah

Date & Time: Thursday, November 16,  5 PM – 8 PM
Location: 182 Memorial Dr, Building 4, Second Floor, (Room 4-237), Cambridge, MA 02139


Free & open to the MIT community and public


W.E.B. Du Bois – A Biography in Four Voices, a documentary film by Louis Massiah, followed by a Q&A with Vivek Bald.

Step into history when you join us for a viewing of “W.E.B. Du Bois – A Biography in Four Voices,” an exceptional film helmed by the renowned filmmaker and videographer Louis Massiah, acclaimed for his scholarly contributions to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker himself and moderated by scholar, writer, documentary filmmaker and Associate Professor, of Comparative Media Studies at MIT, whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent, Vivek Bald. Assoc. Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts

This cinematic masterpiece delves deep into the enduring journey of Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963) and provides a unique perspective on a momentous century in African American history.

As a distinguished recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Massiah is revered for his unwavering dedication to illuminating pivotal, yet often overlooked subjects, delivering a fusion of integrity, insight, and artistic brilliance. His expansive body of work encompasses directorial accomplishments in films such as “Trash” (1985), “W.E.B Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices” (1995), “Cecil B. Moore” (1987), and “Louise Alone Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words” (2002).

Furthermore, Massiah’s creative endeavors extend to the production of two notable films for the PBS series “Eyes on the Prize II” (1990) and the innovative development of a five-channel video installation within the historical President’s House site overseen by the National Park Service. In addition to his cinematic accolades, Louis Massiah assumes the role of visionary founder and director of the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a pivotal hub for media arts. The center not only offers workshops and equipment access to community groups but also nurtures emerging independent media production methodologies, empowering novice creators to harness the power of media as a creative tool for shaping their own narratives of history.


W.E.B Du Bois – A Biography in Four Voices (US, 1996, 116 minutes)

The long and remarkable life of Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963) offers unique insights into an eventful century in African American history. Born three years after the end of the Civil War, Du Bois witnessed the imposition of Jim Crow, its defeat by the Civil Rights Movement and the triumph of African independence struggles.

Du Bois was the consummate scholar-activist whose path-breaking works remain among the most significant and articulate ever produced on the subject of race. His contributions and legacy have been so far-reaching, that this, his first film biography, required the collaboration of four prominent African American writers. Wesley Brown, Thulani Davis, Toni Cade Bambara and Amiri Baraka narrate successive periods of Du Bois’ life and discuss its impact on their work.