Commemorating 50 Years
of Black Women at Converse
The 2018 year marks the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of our first Black students at Converse College. We reflect on our heritage and the work still ahead of us with a year-long series, Celebrating Courage and Charting the Future: Commemorating 50 years of Black Women at Converse.
The series began on February 9, with a panel of distinguished alumnae sharing their experiences with students, and continues into the fall with feature stories highlighting individual alumnae (beginning in September). The 50th anniversary will be commemorated during a special Opening Convocation service in the fall. Finally, in the spring of 2019, the series will culminate with an exhibition highlighting Converse’s history of African American students developed by students as part of a class research project.
Join us in celebration during Opening Convocation
Register TODAY to reserve your spot for this historic milestone on September 21, 2018!
All alumnae are invited for a day-long celebration in conjunction with Converse’s formal opening of the academic year:
- All participants are invited for Opening Convocation, lunch in Gee, and our Special Topic Breakout Sessions.
- Special opportunities for Black Alumnae include:
- Share Your Story: Students will lead oral interviews with alumnae as part of a research project on Converse’s history of African American students. Their work will culminate in an exhibition in Spring 2019.
- Opening Convocation
- Processional: Join the processional of Black alumnae into the service!
- Gospel Choir performance: Lift your voice with the Gospel Choir of Black Alumnae that will perform during the service. (Attendance at choir rehearsal is required on Thursday, September 20 at 7 pm.)
Opening Convocation Schedule of Events
|8 - 9 AM||Continental Breakfast|
|9 - 11 AM||Share Your Story|
|11:15 AM - 1 PM||Opening Convocation in Twichell Auditorium|
|1 - 2 PM||Lunch in Gee Dining Room|
|2 - 4 PM||Special Topic Breakout Sessions|
|2:00-3:00 PM: Barnet Room. Converse Uncensored: A discussion on diversity and inclusion at Converse.|
|3:00-4:00 PM: Barnet Room. This is America: A discussion on the Childish Gambino video, This is America.|
|3:00-4:00 PM: Lever Auditorium. Philosophy of Culture: A discussion on culture and identity.|
|4 - 5 PM||Closing Reception|
Meet Converse’s First Black Graduates: Freida Rodgers Byrd and Margaret Jones Swindler
Listening to Freida Rodgers Byrd ’72 and Margaret Jones Swindler ’72 banter back and forth you would think they are the best of friends. Yet, they were just recently reunited, first for lunch with President Newkirk and then for the February 2018 kickoff of the 50th anniversary at ‘Celebrating Courage: A Panel Discussion with Black Alumnae….’ Continue reading…
A Look Back:
Panel Discussion with Black Alumnae
In February 2018, Converse hosted the first event in its Celebrating Courage series: A Panel Discussion with Black Alumnae. Alumnae, current students, faculty and staff were invited to attend this powerful experience, as alumnae shared perspectives on their Converse experiences, creating a culture that embraces diversity, overcoming hurdles in their professional lives, the impact of mentors, building the network between alumnae and students, and more.
Featured panelists included Phyllis P. Harris ’82, Jayne Reuben ’85, Hon. Deadra Jefferson ’85, Candy Moore ’93, Dawn C. Davis-Deck ’99, Joy Stoney ’00, Stinson Woodward Ferguson ‘07, and Dr. Kay E. Woodward.
A Look Forward:
An Exhibit Commemorating 50 Years of Black Women at Converse
During Opening Convocation, students from Dr. Angela Elder’s African American History (HST 306) class will conduct interviews for an oral history of the integration of Converse College. These students plan to showcase this history with an exhibit on campus from Thursday, February 7 through Thursday, February 21 in the lobbies of Phifer Hall. This exhibit will be open to the public.
If you are interested in contributing to this class project and helping to enrich the history of Converse, please sign up for the Share Your Story opportunity in the Opening Convocation registration form. Interviews will be scheduled from 9-11am on September 21.
Don’t Miss Out!
Are you receiving our monthly View from the Tower e-newsletter? If not, or if you aren’t sure, sign up now! Our newsletter is full of important information for Converse Alumnae, and will feature news and announcements about our Celebrating Courage events throughout the year.