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Shirley Graham Du Bois
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    (November 11, 1896-March 27, 1977)
    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
    Birth name was Lola Shirley Graham, Jr.
    Married W.E.B. Du Bois (1951)
    Author, playwright, composer and activist
    Director of the Chicago Negro Unit of the Federal Theater Program (1934-36)
    Wrote the novels ‘There Once Was a Slave’ (1947) and ‘Zulu Heart’ (1974)
    Wrote the plays ‘Deep Rivers’ (1939), ‘Track Thirteen’ (1940), ‘Elijah’s Raven’ (1941) and ‘Dust to Earth’ (1941)
    Wrote the music and libretto for the opera ‘Tom Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro’ (1932)
    Wrote biographies for young readers of George Washington Carver, Paul Robeson, Phyllis Wheatley, Pocahontas, Booker T. Washington, Julius Nyerere and W.E.B. Du Bois
    She tried to knock over a decade off her age, claiming 1907 as her birth year.
    She divorced her first husband, Shadrach McCants (1927), but claimed in interviews and her autobiography to have been widowed.
    She joined the Communist Party.
    She joined W.E.B. Du Bois in renouncing their American citizenship and moving to Ghana (1961).
    At thirteen, she wrote an editorial to an Indianapolis newspaper protesting racial discrimination after she was denied access to a YWCA swimming pool.
    She was named USO director for Fort Huachuca in Arizona, a base that quartered over .15,000 black soldiers (1942)
    She was a field secretary for the NAACP in New York City (1942-44).
    She delivered the keynote address at the convention of Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party (1948).
    She had to flee Ghana after the military coup that overthrew President Kwame Nkrumah (1967).

Credit: C. Fishel

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