February 26, 2001
Moon's history lecture
kicks off Homecoming
By Eric Rangus email@example.com
A significant portion of the 120 or so students attending Joe Moons lecture, From Estrange-ment to Reconciliation: A Biography of Oxford College of Emory University, in the Oxford Chapel, Feb. 19, got credit for being there since it fulfilled a requirement for the colleges popular Oxford Studies course.
The rest of the crowd just got entertained.
Thats not to say the night wasnt informative; quite the contrary.
With a good-humored delivery throughout the events 90 minutes, Moon
and six Oxford graduates who shared the stage held the audiences
attention and delivered many historical nuggets for students to contemplate.
It was an ideal way to kick off Oxfords second Homecoming celebration
since the tradition was reintroduced last year. This years theme
was Cant Beat the Real Thing; festivities took place
throughout the week and wrapped up with a basketball game and post-game
Moon, associate dean for campus life, did quite a bit more than lecture.
Only for the first half-hour did he stand behind the podium and read from
his recently completed doctoral dissertation whose title gave the event
Following the reading came the nights centerpiece, a slide show
consisting of around 150 photographs pulled primarily from Oxford annuals
throughout the years. The earliest images dated from 1910 and consisted
of, among other things, old club pictures, pre-Depression shots of Oxford
landmarks such as Seney Hall and the Quad, Dooleys first appearance
in the late 1950s, andmost entertaininglypast yearbook photos
of current Oxford professors, such as popular religion Professor Hoyt
Olivers 1954 student portrait.
While the older photos piqued definite interest, many students in the
crowd had stronger reactions to the more recent examples from the 1970s.
Not every slide, however, was chosen with positive images in mind. One
1952 photo showed Oxford students performing in blackface. Moon said such
an instance is rightfully unthinkable now, but in the early 1950s, it
was unfortunately common.
Another photothis one from 1960was of Oxfords all-African American cafeteria staff.
According to Moon, that was about the time staff members began to appear
in the annuals. The next picture was of the cafeterias two supervisorsboth
I wonder if theres any symbolism in that, Moon said.
Moon ceded the last half-hour to six Oxford alumni, whose college days
stretched from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Dan Ragsdale 59Ox talked about the struggles of staying awake for
8 a.m. classes. He also expressed feelings about the importance of the
students two years at Oxford that would be echoed by all the panelists.
Enjoy the moment, Ragsdale said. Its a lifetime
youre building right here. I know 40 years from now, some of you
will be back here doing the same thing that I am.
Ina Thompson 61Ox said that while she was a student, Oxford women
faced a 7 p.m. curfew during the week and could only sign out to go to
the library. That fact was greeted with (mostly female) gasps.
Horace Johnson 77Ox humorously retold a story about mandatory drownproofing
classes in the Hopkins pooleven though he couldnt swim.
Cheryl Custer 81Ox said she discovered her career and met her husband
at Oxford. She also briefly mentioned Oxfords social theme parties
of the late 1970s and early 1980s, gatherings with eyebrow-raising names
like Casino Night, Come as Your Fantasy and the
Whore and Pimp Party.
David Ladner 85Ox said the true meaning of Oxford is in its future
contexthow friends made at the college stay with you over the years.
Dee Bostick 90Ox wrapped things up, proudly declaring that Oxfords
curriculum is more challenging than Emorys.
It is a gross understatement, Moon said as he finished his address, to say that all of us who work and study at Oxford owe a debt to those who came before us.