Legacy Tea

Shanajha Thompson- “Thank you for inspiring us.”
Shanajha Thompson- “Thank you for inspiring us.”
Dara Moore reads her poem and Dr. Fox smiles with pride
Dara Moore reads her poem and Dr. Fox smiles with pride
Gini Ridge Tribute
A tribute to Gini Ridge.
 past Student Government Presidents in front of the Wall of Honor
Past Student Government Presidents and the student researcher: Rena Pegram in front of the Wall of Honor.
 Dr Tyson and Shanice Penn
Dr Tyson and Shanice Penn
Jawanda Smith Kyra Blaino Lee
Jawanda Smith

Legacy Tea

The Legacy Tea was held during reunion weekend on March 31 at 3 p.m. A highlight for the tea was the unveiling of the Wall of Honor, an oral history/visual arts project created by the members of the Ida B. Wells Living Learning Community. This project exemplifies the African American and Multicultural Affairs Tenth Anniversary theme, A Great Cloud of Witnesses, acknowledging the extraordinary voices of students, alumnae, college family and friends who have shared sacrificially in the development of our very successful diversity program. In respect for the power of narrative, the Ida B. Wells Living Learning Community members have conducted interviews with our honorees to put a face with the stories that are so lovingly passed down from class to class.

Introduction for “From Mary Baldwin to the Ladies on the Wall” by Dara Moore’ 02.

I had much to say when I was asked to commemorate the African American and Multicultural Office Wall of Honor with a poem. Yet, when my pen met paper I found questions in lieu of my responses to the wall. I then began asking them aloud and realized I probably wasn’t the only woman at Mary Baldwin to ask these same questions. Was Mary Baldwin proud of us? I wondered most if she understood our struggle. Those struggles caused pain and I wondered if Mary Baldwin felt it with us. The spirit of Mary Baldwin’s campus—the hills, hallways, and classrooms—told me there was much she had to say to those women on the wall.  From the moment I asked the first question I heard her reiterate the confirmation that we have all yearned for. She assured that we brought purpose to Mary Baldwin by way of being a strong and determined woman of color and as much as we claimed her campus, she not only claimed and supported us, but she most importantly transformed to become what we needed. My poem is a response to the questions we all have asked, but is more a gentle reminder that we are an essential part of Mary Baldwin’s fabric, a required piece that without it Mary Baldwin wouldn’t be who she is today.

From Mary Baldwin to the Ladies on the Wall…

I was bewildered
Those first days my gaze
Rested upon your striking face
I was uneasy and terrified
unaware of your authority
Naive on the subject of your design
I nervously awaited the day
you would defiantly declare
“THIS is all mine!”

As you pushed through
climbed over
stepped around
occasionally fell down
I was pleased.
You collected yourself
With such poise and ease
Even your mistakes were refined
And I could see very soon
You were preparing to sing
“THIS is all mine!”

Your tears tugged at the
Corners of my heart
You weren’t meant to blend
You were created to stand apart
You were dressed in color
A delightful creation
danced all across my surface
with your precise purpose
And all I could think was,
“It’s about time!”
I became proud
As with attitude you announced,
“THIS is all mine!”

I love the portion of my song
“To these hills where Beauty dwells”
Yet what you have added
caused my splendor to swell
As you flexed
I flexed
As you increased
I increased
And when you became Black Woman
With your texture and your story
You were heavy
My soil expanded and deepened beneath you
You demanded
I must be enough to keep you standing.
I must be enough to keep you
I must be enough
And when we were weary together those times
All I could hear was
Your persistence,
“THIS is all mine!”

You are the spiritual
That delivered me to transformation
You are dream
You are solution
You are masterpiece
You are revolution

A lyric
which fused my past with legacy
imprinted across my breasts
Your poems
Your songs
Your names
Your memory
Your protests
Because of you
I am louder
Rhythmic, vibrant
Because of you
I am now
And tomorrow
And I am more
But best of all
I am always
And thankfully YOURS…