A South County middle school has been renamed after civil rights activist and NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois.

The Berkshire Hills Regional School District Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to rename Monument Valley Regional Middle School in Great Barrington the W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School, The Berkshire Eagle reported.

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington in 1868 and grew up in town. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University.

The decision came in 2019 after voters of the three towns the school serves voted at annual town meetings said yes to the renaming effort, which was first proposed 15 years ago. About 200 people logged on to the virtual remote public meeting, most in favor of the name change.

“It rings in their hearts and their heads, the pride that they’ll be able to carry,” said Vanessa LeGrande, parent and town resident, of students’ response to the renaming effort.

Opponents of the name change cited Du Bois' late-in-life membership in the Communist Party of the United States.

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