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Spelman History is Black History

Spelman's History is Black History

Join us in Celebrating our Origins, Art, Activism and Innovation.

Throughout the month of February, we will celebrate some of Spelman's countless contributions to Black history. Stay tuned tospelman.edu and the College's social media platforms for a month-long commemoration of Spelman origins, art, activism, innovation and more as we honor our past and reclaim our future. Spelman's history is Black history, and we are so excited to celebrate our legacy with you this February.  

 

FEATURED HIGHLIGHTS

 

Kimberly M. Jackson, Ph.D, professor and chair of Spelman's Department of Chemistry and director of the Food Studies Program, explains more about Spelman's history of food studies and offers her thoughts on a three-year partnership with Kellogg Company on the company's Social K blog. Spelman College students revive an agroecological Victory Garden.

EXCERPT

...So, food is in our school's DNA. And we know it's in Kellogg's DNA too, ensuring there's a place at the table for everyone.

That's why it was an easy decision recently to partner with the company to help grow our food studies program and create a pipeline of career opportunities for our students.When we formed our partnership, Spelman was the only Historically Black College or University to have a food studies program. Our food program is different – we strive to offer students an interdisciplinary and critical lens to approach today's food system challenges. Our coursework engages multiple disciplines, such as anthropology, political science, women's studies, arts, geography, economics, biology, and chemistry, to name a few. 

Read the Full Article

 

The Arts

 
Spelman Organist Joyce Johnson Honored

Professor emerita of music and Spelman’s beloved organist Dr. Joyce Finch Johnson, was feted at the Not Alone Foundation Inc. 8th Annual Diamonds Awards ceremony with the Diamonds Award Lifetime Achievement in Music Education. The educational leadership award signifies Dr. Johnson’s dedication and service to Spelman College and the world, while embracing philanthropy, humanitarian efforts and servant leadership.

From 1953 to 2024, Spelman students have witnessed Johnson at every special occasion at the College in her role as the College organist — from convocation to Founders’ Day, investitures and commencement — Johnson is a fixture as much as the Holtkamp organ at the center of Spelman’s historic Sisters Chapel.

For the artist’s many accolades as a global performer, music theorist and teacher, she is perhaps most well-known for being the organist who kept a two-day vigil, playing as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lay in repose at Spelman College Sisters Chapel for public viewing in April 1968.

Read Full Article

 

Innovation and Technology

 

African American contributions to innovation and technology have played an integral role in American society, economy, and culture. From the ironing board and heating furnace to 3D technology and rock and roll, our day-to-day would be unrecognizable without the countless contributions Black women have made to the world around us.

In the past, African American innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists defeated the odds, paving the way for Black girls and women of today to continue to innovate and create. 

This Black History Month, Spelman College is shining a light on the innovators who came before us and the new generation of Spelman College innovators that will follow. Join us as we honor our past contributions while celebrating new waves in technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Spelman College Glee Club Celebrates the Beauty and History of Negro Spirituals

by Angela George | February 08, 2024

WABE Studio's video chronicling the Spelman College Glee Club's extraordinary choral performance filmed at the Art Farm at Serenbe's beautiful wildflower meadow located just south of Atlanta, Geogia, will amaze and inspire you. Since 1924, the Spelman Glee Club has upheld choral excellence with a diverse repertoire spanning world cultures, commissioned works, sacred and secular literature, and music by African American composers. Emphasizing harmonies that complement women's voices, the Glee Club fosters community and pride at Spelman College.

Currently under the direction of Dr. Kevin Johnson, associate professor of music, the Glee Club has traveled throughout the United States and performed for a variety of audiences in churches, high schools, colleges and universities. Past performance venues include the Faneuil Hall in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

 

The Changemakers

 
Spelman has a long and storied history of developing today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders. When students graduate from Spelman, they are equipped with the knowledge, tools, and skills to not only thrive but to activate change that leads to a more just and equitable world.

This Black History Month, we are taking the time to acknowledge the women who set out to change the world as we know it, leaving an indelible mark on their own communities and the communities of those abroad. Whether it’s a positive impact next door or across the world, Spelman women make the consistent choice to change the world each and every day. Read more about each feature by selecting the headlines.  

Spelman College Glee Club Celebrates the Beauty and History of Negro Spirituals

by Angela George | February 08, 2024

WABE Studio's video chronicling the Spelman College Glee Club's extraordinary choral performance filmed at the Art Farm at Serenbe's beautiful wildflower meadow located just south of Atlanta, Geogia, will amaze and inspire you. Since 1924, the Spelman Glee Club has upheld choral excellence with a diverse repertoire spanning world cultures, commissioned works, sacred and secular literature, and music by African American composers. Emphasizing harmonies that complement women's voices, the Glee Club fosters community and pride at Spelman College.

Currently under the direction of Dr. Kevin Johnson, associate professor of music, the Glee Club has traveled throughout the United States and performed for a variety of audiences in churches, high schools, colleges and universities. Past performance venues include the Faneuil Hall in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

 

 

A LOOK BACK

 

On April 11, 1881, two women made history in the basement of a local church, with just $100 and a mission to educate Black women in the south. More than 142 years later, as we bask in the historic $100 million gift in honor of the 100th anniversary of being named Spelman College, it would be remiss to let this Black History Month pass without paying homage to the foundational members of this illustrious institution.

What began with just 11 students -- most of them formerly enslaved and unable to read -- has transformed into a bustling campus with over 2,500 students, all seeking higher education from what is now the #1 HBCU in the country. Against all odds, societal norms and expectations, the Black girls and women who studied at Atlanta Baptist Seminary persisted in pursuing a proper education. Their determination and perseverance laid the groundwork for every student and alumna that has graced Spelman’s campus since.

The years 1881-1924 were critical to the development of Spelman College as we know it today.  Join us as we take a closer look at the foundation of Spelman’s legacy.

 

Timeline Photos

These images are used in the Look Back video. Click or tap on photo to enlarge the photos for better viewing. 

Spelman History Basement of Friendschip Baptist Church

Friendship Baptist Church

Spelman Black History photo of Jane Anna Granderson and Claudia T White

Jane Anna Granderson
and Claudia T. White

 

Spelman College Catalog 1881

Spelman College Catalog 1881 Page 9

Spelman College 1881 Catalog

 

Spelman College History

Black History at Spelman College

 

Spelman College Graduates in the 1800s

Spelman College 1887 Graduates

Spelman College Seminary Students with Packard and Giles 1886