Digital Commonwealth

Bernard Jaffe Papers, 1955-2016

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

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A New York native with a deep commitment to social justice, Bernard Jaffe was an attorney, confidant, and longtime friend of W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois. In 1951, Jaffe joined Du Bois's defense team at a time when the civil rights leader was under indictment for failing to register as a foreign agent. Forging a close relationship through that experience, he was retained as a personal attorney, representing the Du Bois family interests after they settled abroad. Jaffe was later instrumental in placing the papers of both W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois and served on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, set up by Shirley's son, David Graham Du Bois. This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, from the time of her emigration to Ghana in 1961 until her death in China in 1977 and excellent materials relating to David Graham Du Bois and the work of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

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