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Learning With the Elders

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, the Spelman College community participated in its first Learning and Dancing with Elders program sponsored by the SIS Oral History Project. Students and their women elder mentors attended four classes that will be taught by professors at Spelman.

We Reflect

We read the sign, #blacklivesAGED matter. We saw Young Scholars in SIS wearing tee-shirts that, on the front, read, “Are you ageist” and, on the back, “We think you are. Prove us wrong.

And in restrooms across the campus, we read the signs that taught us something about age, ageing, and ageism. Thanks to the founding of SIS Oral History in 2002, opening the lens of AGE was not new to the Spelman community.

We had participated in Worshipping with Elders and Dancing with Elders, but, not until this year, had we seen signs and flyers promoting Learning with Elders.

This new inter generational learning experience brought elders and young scholars together at the same desk to hear four Spelman professors lecture on topics of major importance to twenty-first century discourse on politics and culture. The professors and their topics were Dr. Richard Benson, Unsung Black Women Heroines; Dorian Brown Crosby, Uprooting the Roots; Cleveland Johnson, Gangs in Central America; and Jeanne Meadows, Sovereignty and Statehood. Together, as a mind of one, elders and students took notes and earned perfect scores on the exam.

Afterwards, they celebrating by dancing to the rhythm of Sister Omelika’s drum.

And then they feasted

And then, after applauding an exciting recital by Edeliegba, an ensemble of women elders (and one man), elders and students line danced to music that was popular when elders were the age of their student mentees.

No one wanted the party to end.


We Learn

Learning With the Elders Classes and Instructors

Dr. Dorian Brown Crosby
Uprooting the Roots

Dr. Cleveland Johnson
Pandillas en Centroamerica (Gangs in Central America)

Dr. Jeanne Meadows
State Sovereignty and the World's People

Dr. Richard Benson
Unsung Heroines and Silenced Histories: An Examination of Black Women's Activism 1940-1980