The Georgia Negro was assembled by W. E. B. DuBois and his students at Atlanta University in the months preceding the World's Fair. Subtitled "A Sociological Study," it included four major sections: statistical charts showing the progress of blacks since the Civil War, a photographic survey of black life in Georgia, portraits of Georgia blacks, and a comprehensive hand-written list of Black Codes in Georgia.
In his The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century, DuBois reflected on the exhibit:
In 1900 came a significant occurrence which not until lately have I set in its proper place in my life. I had been for over nine years studying the American Negro problem. The result had been significant because of its unusual nature and not for its positive accomplishment. I wanted to set down its aim and method in some outstanding way which would bring my work to the notice of the thinking world. The great World's Fair at Paris was being planned and I thought I might put my findings into plans, charts and figures, so one might see what we were trying to accomplish. I got a couple of my best students and put a series of facts into charts: the size and growth of the Negro American group; its division by age and sex; its distribution, education and occupations; its books and periodicals. We made a most interesting set of drawings, limned on pasteboard cards about a yard square and mounted on a number of moveable standards.
Approximately sixty charts were included, carefully illustrated with hand-colored graphs and black and white pictures. They were mounted on hinges so that they could swing out from the wall of the exhibit. DuBois recalled having relatively little time to do the project, almost no money to finance it, and little encouragement:
I was threatened with nervous prostration before I was done and had little money left to buy passage to Paris, nor was there a cabin left for sale. But the exhibit would fail unless I was there. So at the very last moment I bought passage in steerage and went over and installed the work.
The Georgia Negro was included as part of The Exhibit of American Negroes at the Paris World's Fair. Newspapers in the United States, black and white, reported positively on the organization of both the general exhibit and DuBois's materials dealing with blacks in Georgia. The organizers of the World's Fair awarded the general exhibit the Grand Prix; DuBois also won a gold medal for compiling The Georgia Negro exhibit.
DuBois, W. E. B.