January 16, 2001
Exhibit honors black contributions
By Deb Hammacher
A Dream Deferred: African Americans at Emory and Oxford Colleges, 18361968, on display beginning Jan. 18 in Oxfords OKelley Memorial Library, was developed by students in Oxfords
Cultures of the African Diaspora course. The exhibit explores
the diverse contributions of African Americans to both campuses, from
the founding of Emory College in 1836 to the desegregation of Emory-at-Oxford
The exhibit combines Oxford student scholarship with objects loaned from
white and African American families in the Oxford community, including
valuable quilts and family photographs. A centerpiece of the exhibit is
the desk of Methodist Bishop James Osgood Andrew (17941871), an
early champion of civil rights who paradoxically was a slave owner. Andrew
was the first president of the Emory College Board of Trustees, and his
ownership of the slave Kitty led to the 1845 split of the Methodist Church.
Themes explored in the exhibition include slavery in antebellum Oxford,
memories of labor, faith and community, family history, and the campus
impact of segregation and the civil rights movement. The exhibition is
part of the Year of Reconciliation.
Reconciliation, in many ways, needs to begin at home, said
Oxford anthropology professor Mark Auslander, who teaches the course.
On Emorys mother campus, we are keenly aware of
the long historical debt Emory owes to Oxfords African American
Generations of African American employees, during the eras of slavery,
reconstruction and Jim Crow, labored for the school knowing that neither
they nor their children could attend Emory or Oxford as students,
Auslander said. So we hope this exhibition contributes in some small
measure to the long-delayed process of acknowledging early African American
historical contributions to this institution.
Speakers at the Jan. 18 opening include University Secretary and historian
Gary Hauk; Rev. Michael Lee of Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Mark Sanders,
director of African American studies at Emory; Rev. Bridgette Young, associate
chaplain at Emory; J.P. Godfrey, Oxford City Council member and grandson
of Israel Godfrey, the African American mason who built Oxfords
Day Chapel; and Bond Fleming, former dean of Oxford College who presided
during the schools desegregation in 1968. Choirs from Mt. Zion Baptist
Church and Rust United Memorial Church will perform.
The exhibition and its opening are free and open to the public. Library
hours are 2 p.m.-2 a.m. on Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Thursday,
8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call 770-784-4664.