Student Life: LEADS at Spelman

The SIS Oral History Project

Connecting the Present With the Past, SIS Creates a Future of Griots


Four years before President Barack Obama mentioned 106-year old Ann Nixon Cooper as emobying the spirit of his victory, she had been dubbed by Spelman Independent Scholars as the "Wisest of the Wise."

 

Ann Nixon Cooper and Dr. Gloria Wade Gayles

Our Elders: A Gift to SIS and the World

Mrs. Cooper, the wife of the first Black dentist in Atlanta, was one of the dozens of African-American women elders whose stories were recorded and archived in the first 10 years of the SIS interdisciplinary independent study program at Spelman.

Other elder mentors include a woman who never got out of poverty after being one of 13 born to a sharecropper in Albany, Georgia. They have common stories said SIS founder, Gloria Wade Gayles, Ph.D. “We're trying to establish that there are common stories in the memories of African-American women across lines of class."

Documenting Women of Wisdom (WOW)

"You have asked me to talk about my life. You have given me joy. -- Judia Mae Ferrell to SIS"

"When you see an older woman dancing, don't ask why. Dance, too." -- SIS Proverb

 
A two-semester independent, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational learning experience open to students across all majors, the goal of SIS is to enhance students critical writing and thinking skills. It also allows students the opportunity to share research and grow in griot knowledge.

intergenerational learningIn addition to learning sessions with the SIS faculty mentor, students are exposed to lectures by guest scholars including gerontologists, oral historians, museum curators, and physician-researchers.

Through one-on-one independent student relationships and class seminars, the unique yearlong program allows and entrusts students to solicit, understand and archive stories of African-American women elders.  A global component of SIS has included oral history research in Accra, Ghana; Benin, West Africa; and Kingston, Jamaica.

It has produced two student-reported and -edited anthologies: “Their Memories, Our Treasure: Conversations with African American with a third on the way as the independent study program, founded in August 2001, enters its second decade.

"If our institutions are going to create critical thinkers, we must impress upon students the connections between the past, present and future,” Dr. Gayles said. Every present moment is influenced by past moments. The past gives us informed direction as we move to the future.

Voting With the Elders

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 | 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

    Location
  • Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Ed.D., Academic Center Auditorium

The SIS Oral History Project invites the community to attend the Voting With the Elders symposium on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2017.

SIS Voting With the Elders SymposiumModerator
Former State Legislator Georganna Sinkfield
Panelists
Mrs. Hattie Dorsey, founder and former president of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP).
Focus:
Inclusionary Housing and the Westside

 
Dr. Joyce King, Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership for Georgia State University's Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence, Educational Policy Studies and activist in the Reparations Movement
Focus: Charter Schools, Neighborhood Schools, Free Choice, Reparations, #BlackLives Matter
 
Dr. Carrie Johnson, SIS Woman of Wisdom, former president of Atlanta NAACP and Vine City activist
Focus: City and State Politics
 
Dr. Catharine Meeks, the retired Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of socio-cultural studies, community and wellness activist, author, Episcopal minister, and counselor for death row prisoners
Focus: Homelessness, Criminal Justice, Death Penalty
 
A mock election will take place in Upper Manley on Friday and Saturday before the symposium. Details forthcoming