March 04, 2011
On February 11, 2011, my mother Dolores Elizabeth Howard, who was born Dolores Batiest in New Orleans’ Charity Hospital in 1930, died months before her 81st birthday. While I sat by her hospital bed with my sister and brother the day before she passed, I realized that there was much I still did not know about my mom’s life struggles and eventual triumphs over what must have seemed as nearly overwhelming obstacles in a significant period of American history.
What was clear to me in the last hours of my mom’s life was that she was not afraid, as her body finally surrendered to a force greater than herself—death . As we, her children, sat by her hospital bed, Mom demonstrated she was indeed our greatest teacher, giving us one final and most important lesson about life—we can end our journey with dignity and peace, satisfied that we have made the most of our time here with others.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month 2011, it is absolutely an enormous understatement to affirm that there have been millions of unsung heroines that have helped to develop the America that we share today. As the congregation of The Faith Community of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, IL celebrated the life of Dolores Elizabeth Howard, they affirmed that we may “close the book, but remember the story.”
Women’s History Month helps us to focus on remembering, retelling, and analyzing the stories of the known and unknown heroines who have helped to build our shared reality. For me, another of these heroines is Fannie Jackson Coppin (1837-1913), the first African American principal in the United States who served as a teacher and principal of the Institute of Colored Youth, the precursor of Cheyney University, for nearly forty years. It was under her leadership that the Institute gained its fame and established itself as one of the best institutions for educating persons of African descent in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
On February 25, 2012, Cheyney University will celebrate its 175th Anniversary. In celebrating this momentous anniversary, we will be celebrating the contributions, commitments, sacrifices, and the connected lives of so many women who are often not highlighted in the stories of the region.
These women include:
- Rebecca Cole, the second African-American woman in America to earn a medical degree, who was a 1863 graduate of the Institute of Colored and practiced medicine for over 50 years in Philadelphia;
- Laura Wheeler Waring (1887-1948), the famous portrait painter and Cheyney University faculty member;
- Basketball Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer who earned one of the most winning records in college basketball history including leading the Cheyney Wolves to the NCAA Final Four in 1982;
- Alumna Gladys Styles Johnston who served as the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney from 1993 to 2002, and who currently leads the Millennium Leadership Institute to train future college presidents;
- Bishop Audrey Brunson, Cheyney University Alumna and faculty member for 17 years, and the first woman to be elected president of the Black Clergy.
- Shirley Scott (1934-2002), a jazz organist, Cheyney University Alumna, known as the “Queen of the Organ,” faculty member at Cheyney University (1980’s), and donor for an endowment for future music majors;
- Reba Dickerson-Hill, Alumna, public school teacher, and Cheyney University Faculty member who was known for her artwork in the ancient style of Sumi-e;.
- Edythe Scott Bagley, a faculty member at Cheyney University who helped to breathe life into the Theatre Arts, and the sister and confidant of Coretta Scott King.
As the campus community of Cheyney University begins preparations for its 175th anniversary year, it is important to note that the history of the institution is a story of, and celebration of, the connected lives of many heroines and heroes. During this year, we intend to focus on the individual stories of the women and men who helped to shape the legacy of Cheyney University. As we know, it is extremely important to acknowledge our history, as we attempt to inspire more young men and women to pursue a college education, so that they can transform the Nation and the world.
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- President's Blog - April 2013 - CU Transforming to Produce A Quality Education for the 21st Century
- President's Blog - March 2013 - Our Daughters and The Broadening of The Talented Tenth
- President's Blog--January 2013--Our Collective Action is Required
- President's Blog - February 2013 - Helping Others Reach Their Potential
- Thoughts for a Really New Year
- HBCUs – A Village of Choice for Some
- Cheyney University – 175 Years of Access, Opportunity, and Excellence
- A Fork in the Road ...
- The Unleveled Playing Field
- 100 Black Men: Fathers and Husbands Working for A Better Tomorrow
A R C H I V E
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- September 2012
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- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
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- July 2010
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- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
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