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Jody's assignment

Sarah's picture

Sasha, Jomi, and I made a prezi about a timeline of the history of African American students at Bryn Mawr.  We also have a physical timeline that we will bring to class Tuesday: PREZI



jccohen's picture

narrating Black women's history at Bryn Mawr

Sasha De La Cruz, Sarah, and Uninhibited,

This is an engaging narration of the history of Black women at Bryn Mawr that fills the real and important purpose of visibly naming and elaborating this dimension of the College’s history.  A few aspects that strike me as particularly compelling are your use of other Seven Sisters colleges as a point of comparison and the way you bring the story up to the present moment with your inclusion of the letter to the President.  (In fact, it would be great to continue to update this timeline as events take place this year.)  What would you think about doing some explicit framing at the opening of the prezi, something that would guide (diverse) viewers in terms of how to view this?   

The timeline also raises some provocative questions, suggesting directions for further research.  For example, what do we know about the Black Studies department that was created in 1969/70 and what happened to it?  Did it become Africana Studies (and should this be named in your timeline)?  It could be very interesting to look at curriculum offerings, e.g. what kinds of courses related to Black studies were offered, and how did this correlate or not with the admission/graduation of Black students?  Also, I know Florence Goff did a presentation at some point about Jessie Fawcet; did you come across this?  And what did you find about the purchase of Perry House and/or any other information on that as a particular space? 

And a few final notes: You include some direct quotes and some paraphrasing from various sources, and need to clarify which source(s) this material is coming from.  And where would you like to see the hard copy timeline??


Sharaai's picture

This is aweomse guys! I love

This is aweomse guys! I love the visual represnetation of the the timeline, cause it seems like lately ecerythig we've been attmepting to get out has been a lot of speaking (if that even makes sense...)

and going off of Owl's comment, it is really interesting to see that Thomas' discrimination of students had alot more to do with class connecting to race as well. But also family lineage. To think that the history correlated with someone's last n ame could have an affect on their college experience and more. super eye-opening

Dan's picture

This Prezi was awesome. In

This Prezi was awesome. In our research, Michaela, Sophia, and I also discovered how unwelcoming M. Carey. Thomas was of low-income students too. 

So she was a feminist and in a lesbian relationship -- which seem like Bryn Mawr characteristics to be praised, still important within this institutions culture. It's complicated and dissapointing when someone is revolutionary in some ways -- devoted to certain values (like women's (or white rich women's) equality) while still horrendously bigoted. Bryn Mawr, of course, wants to praise her memory/legacy, but that means hiding her discrimation. What do you guys think about that?

Sarah's picture

Dan, I think you hit the nail

Dan, I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of my feelings, which are conflicted.  I have felt this way since I took the history of Women's Education class sophomore year, in the first 360.  I know that Bryn Mawr would not be what it was today without M. Carey Thomas and also recognize that some of her feelings are just a reflection of the time period.  At the same time, it's interesting to try to imagine if we had had another president, how things would be different, and it hurts to know someone like me wouldn't have belonged at Bryn Mawr considering I am a low-income student and also culturally Jewish (M. Carey Thomas was also very antisemitic).  

Uninhibited's picture

Hi owl, Yes, we were shocked

Hi owl,

Yes, we were shocked as we did our research at how "white" these "black" students were. I think that this goes back to the fact that at the time, a "drop" of black lineage meant that you were black. The main difference of the time I think is what was considered white. For example, we found much information on Jewish students also experienced this type of discrimination, especially from President Thomas. I don't think that it still exists on campus the same way, as we spoke about in Barb's class at the beginning of the semester, these kinds of things are a lot less obvious now. In speaking about how others label you vs. how you label yourself, I can say that as a Latina, many people laugh when I say that I consider myself black in terms of race and Latina in terms of ethnicity. That’s because in DR, I’m black because of my skin tone, whereas here in the US those markers are much more complicated due to the diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality etc.

ishin's picture

You talking about your DR roots

is really insightful, Uninhibited!  I really appreciate you talking about your own experience and when you decide to identity under which labels--in all honesty, I don't know very much about the history and demographic of the DR, so your own grapplings with which check box you mark is something that I learned from and about you.

I really remember vividly reading this my freshman year and thought you would (amongst others) would appreciate it (the comments on the bottom are really insightful as well).

I didn't even get to your prezi, but admittedly, I feel as if Owl has mentioned all that I wanted to say.  I think would also just prefer to talk to you all in person about this!

Owl's picture

I was very much intrigued by

I was very much intrigued by the idea that race was much more than color of skin in the early days of Bryn Mawr. Although, it is largely understood that race is a social construct in the way that we interact with it, it surprises me how race seemed to be more abstract pre-conceived notions than anything. The women who graduated Bryn Mawr but received backlash after they were "discovered" to be of color, were the prime example of this. As I was going through your prezi and saw the images of the women who had experienced the aformentioned, I was shocked at how they did not have darker skin tones. I was more shocked however, at how simply knowing one's family lineage affected how others labeled them and what their basis for such label was. I am interested in talking more about this and if you guys think that pre-conceived notions about different racial groups and identities still exist here on campus.