Black at Bryn Mawr: The Fall Break Workshop

Grace Pusey '15 leads a tour for Bryn Mawr alumnae (October 2015). Photograph by Monica Mercado.

Grace Pusey ’15 leads a tour for Bryn Mawr alumnae (October 2015). Photograph by Monica Mercado.

by Monica Mercado

This weekend, the Black at Bryn Mawr Fall Workshop will explore the role that race plays in students’ own and others’ identities on campus. With summer research funding from the Provost’s Office, workshop leader Grace Pusey ’15 has organized an intensive two-day reading, writing, and discussion-based workshop for current undergrads, supported by Bryn Mawr’s Pensby Center and The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education.

When Grace proposed the workshop to us, she outlined a number of objectives that might use the Black at Bryn Mawr project as a point of departure, including:

  • learning to recognize how racial power dynamics impact themselves and others on campus;
  • exploring concepts of power, privilege, and oppression related to race;
  • strengthening competencies in reading, writing, and discussing critical theory; and,
  • deepening students’ understanding of how history can be used as a tool for social justice on campus and beyond.

These goals will be accomplished through a blend of experiential and text-based learning activities. Unable to participate? We’ll be using this space to reflect on the workshop in the weeks ahead, but check out the syllabus, after the jump, and read along with us. Continue reading

Black at Bryn Mawr: What’s Next?

by Monica MercadoBlackatBrynMawr

Good question!

I’ve been invited by the Bryn Mawr College Pensby Center to kick off this year’s Diversity Conversations programming with a look at the past, present, and future of the Black at Bryn Mawr project. During 2015-2016, I will continue to manage the project, providing new research and integrating it with my teaching and the work of the Greenfield Digital Center. I feel the loss of the project’s creators, Emma Kioko ’15 and Grace Pusey ’15 greatly — their energy and expertise made Emma’s idea for a Black history walking tour real, and far more successful than we ever could have imagined at this time last year. Our students graduate, and move on in their research and careers; talk of sustainability for campus history projects in the small liberal arts college environment must reflect this.

For those who can not attend the conversation, I am making my slides available via Slideshare (click here) and welcome comments and further questions below. Today’s presentation also dovetails with the work I am just beginning as a co-organizer of the 2016 NCPH Working Group “Campus History as Public History,” which is taking applications through October 15, 2015. Can we create best practices for these kinds of projects?

As always, the conversation also continues on Twitter: #BlackatBrynMawr and #campushistories.

Black at Bryn Mawr and the Enid Cook ’31 Center at Bryn Mawr College

by Grace Pusey 

President Cassidy and students Grace Pusey, Khadijah Seay, and Danielle Cadet at the Cook Center dedication, August 31, 2015. Photo credit: Bryn Mawr College Communications.

Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy and students Grace Pusey ’15, Khadijah Seay ’16, and Danielle Cadet  ’16 (August 31, 2015). Photo credit: Bryn Mawr College Communications.

At Fall Convocation on Monday, August 31, 2015, President Kim Cassidy announced that the residence hall and cultural center built to replace Perry House — the residence hall and cultural center that African American women fought for and won in 1972 (which later also housed members of Mujeres and BACaSO, campus affinity groups founded by and for Latina, African, and Caribbean students) — has been named the Enid Cook ’31 Center in honor of Enid Appo Cook, the first African American woman to graduate from Bryn Mawr College. After President Cassidy shared this news with an audience of students, staff, and faculty packed into Goodhart Hall, I joined Enid Cook ’31 Center co-presidents Khadijah Seay and Danielle Cadet (both Class of 2016) at the Center’s dedication. President Cassidy made a few remarks explaining why Bryn Mawr had chosen to name the Center after Enid Cook and acknowledged Khadijah and Danielle for their hard work and visionary leadership on the Relaunching Perry House Committee. She also thanked me for the essay I wrote on Enid Cook for the Black at Bryn Mawr project, which proved instrumental to the College’s decision to name the building in her honor.

When the festivities ended, I went home and wrote a heartfelt Facebook post about how meaningful the day had been to me. Monica emailed me the next morning to say that she had been moved by what I wrote and asked if I would feel comfortable blogging it, since we have used this space to toggle back and forth between historical research and reflections on the meaning of that research. I agreed; since then, I have been staring at a blank screen, trying to figure out how to repackage what I wrote then for the readers of this blog. What I shared with my friends on Facebook suddenly seemed embarrassingly sincere. Rather than revising my original post, however, I have decided to share it as it was written. It remains the most candid summary of my feelings about the experience, and I cannot think of a way to suppress the emotion behind it without minimizing how truly significant the dedication ceremony was to me. I wrote:  Continue reading

A Tribute to Perry House scheduled for May 2

from the Pensby Center:

Perry House at Bryn Mawr College.

Perry House at Bryn Mawr College.

The Perry House Committee invites the Bryn Mawr College community to A Tribute to Perry House on Saturday, May 2 at 2:00 PM. We will gather on the grounds of the original Perry House (rain site: Ely Room, Wyndham Alumnae House). President Kim Cassidy, former Associate Chief Information Officer and Equal Opportunity Officer Florence Goff, Nia Turner ’05 and current students Khadijah Seay and Danielle Cadet will offer remarks and reflections. Attendees will be encouraged to mingle and share memories at a reception immediately following. If you plan to attend and have not yet RSVPd, please fill out this brief form so that we know how many people to expect.

Attendees are also invited to participate in “Black at Bryn Mawr,” a 60-minute walking tour created by Emma Kioko ’15 and Grace Pusey ’15. The tour, which will leave Thomas Hall at 4PM, offers a new history of the experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff at the College since its founding. (We suggest practical shoes–approximately 10 minutes of the tour takes place on a wooded trail.) Let us know your intention to participate in “Black at Bryn Mawr” on the registration form.

Black at Bryn Mawr Walking Tour Schedule


Poster by Grace Pusey.

Poster by Grace Pusey. 

Public tours for the Bryn Mawr College community launch Thursday, April 23 at 5pm. Additional tours will be offered April 24 and 25, and May 2, 4, and 6. For more details, see Upcoming Events and Walking Tour RSVP page.

Grace and Emma will also be presenting at the final Friday Finds of the semester, on April 24 from 4-5pm in Canaday 205 (Special Collections Seminar Room). In this venue, they will share their research with examples pulled from the collections of the College Archives.