Her Story: Honoring the Black Woman

Her-Story began with mood: dim lights and music from the late Whitney Houston. It was a celebration of courageous women of color.

Many students, professors and community members attended Her-Story Friday at the Carrie Meek-James Eaton, Sr. Black Archives Research Center and Museum at Florida A&M.

The celebration began with a band that marched from The Set to the black archives building. The sound of the drums echoed through campus.

History professor Titus Brown said attending the event was a chance to celebrate the women who impacted him.

“Black women played a major role in my life and I’m happy to support and reflect on their contributions to the African-American movement,” Brown said.

“I’m glad the community is taking time to honor black women in history’s past and present and future that are usually downplayed,” said Breauna Roach, a junior English student from Detroit.

Professor Yanela Gordon from the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication praised black women as being “strong, beautiful and smart.” Members of the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Zeta Phi Beta recited a prayer and poem to honor Zora Neale Hurston, an African-American author and folklorist who died in 1960.

“It’s exciting that women of color can have an exhibit contributing to history more than what we are recognized for,” said

Keila Dumas, a junior political science student from Tampa.

The exhibit included relics from long ago: a slave breeding bed with a whipping rod and shelves of beautiful African dolls dressed in Kenté cloth. A display was made to honor Harriet Tubman and her journey to free slaves.

The “Mammy” Domestic Service Collectibles from Tom Bridge’s black memorabilia collection were also on display.

Murell Dawson, the archivist curator at the museum, said this exhibit was worth the two months of research and preparation. She called it a “night of celebration.”

“This event wasn’t just for black people. This was for everybody,” said Dawson. “It was also a teaching tool to educate the community. Our goal was to get everyone to connect with women of color.”