Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part III

 

AKA Formal, 1986. Photo courtesy of Barbara Dugas-Patterson.

Unearthing the Histories of Black Women in Higher Education

One of the most intriguing bits of history I’ve encountered during this project is the relationships between Black and white fraternities. The first Black Greek-letter organization on campus was none other than the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. On May 16, 1959, Delta Xi charter members Alnita F. Rettig, Jerry Ann Cannon, Barbara Caruthers, Evelyn Deason, Donna Licia Guess, Mamie Flora Hans, Miriam Jean Jones, Bettye Joanne McAdams, Carolyn Nan Mims, Doris Price, Mary Simpson, Walta Marie Smith, Janice Strickland, Gloria D. Truscott, and Mabel Joyce Wilson officially integrated Greek organizations at the University of Texas. 

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Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part II

Photo courtesy of Pamiel Gaskin, AKA Christmas Party 1966

AKA Impact on Campus & Beyond

The impact of the signature projects created and facilitated by the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. reaches beyond the Forty Acres and into the lives of Austin mothers and their children. Working in East Austin, where, historically, the majority of African American Austinites have resided, since 1959 Delta Xi has held events to aid battered women, and to provide holiday parties, daycare, resources, encouragement, and toys for impoverished families. Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part II”

Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part I

Delta Xi of Spring 1966: Camilla Jackson, Beverly Robinson, Karen Williams, Pamiel Johnson-Gaskin, Carolyn Cole, Ruth Franklin, Mary Gordon, Linda Lewis, Mary Poston, Shirley Tennyson, Barbara Ward, Debbera Williams.
Photo courtesy of Pamiel Johnson–Gaskin.

The honorable Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was the first Black Greek-letter organization to be established at The University of Texas at Austin. Sworn in on May 16, 1959, at high noon in the Queen Anne Room, this particular group of women is dripping in legacy, poignant programs, community service, and rich history. As an archivist in training, with the unique opportunity to not only archive an oral history but curate it from scratch, I see it as my duty to extract the essence and diversity of these highly valuable experiences among the Delta Xi women. This blog series will contain three parts, one published each month during the summer of 2021. Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part I”

Celebrating Eric Williams

A scholar and statesman, the Honorable Dr. Eric Eustace Williams (1911-1981) led Trinidad and Tobago for over a quarter of a century. He oversaw the country’s independence from Britain in 1962 and 1976 transition to a Republic. Williams served as Prime Minister until his death in 1981.

In April 2021, the Eric Williams Memorial Lecture (EWML) moved from Florida International University to its new home at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. To mark the occasion, the BDA collaborated with the Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives & Museum at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and the staff of the Alma Jordan Library at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago to create the online exhibition, Celebrating Eric Williams.

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Black Freedom Struggle and the University

As the 2019-2020 AKA Scholars Black Diaspora Archive Intern, Zaria El-Fil curated an exhibition documenting Black student activism on UT’s campus in the 1970s. Campus closure due to COVID-19 prevented the exhibition from happening, but you can read more about Zaria’s research and experience using the John L. Warfield Papers in the 2019-2020 issue of Portal: Web Magazine of LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collection found here.

Life & Letters: Follow Your Arts Desire

With all the events going on around town this month, it’s easy to forget that we have several excellent art galleries right on campus. Luckily, I’m here to remind you about two shows currently on display at the Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) and the Benson Latin American Collection which spotlight both diverse artists and the wealth of art resources here at UT Austin.

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That Which Surrounds Us: Selections from the Brandywine Art Prints, 1982-2013

That Which Surrounds Us: Selections from Brandywine Art Prints, 1982–2013, explores two elements central to the human experience—space and time. Sometimes indistinguishable, yet still distinct, factors of space and time shape our identity and inform how we view and operate in the world. Shown in two parts—Surrounded by Space and Surrounded by Time—this exhibition highlights personal expressions of these natural elements while showcasing the diverse array of fine art prints included in the Brandywine Art Prints Collection. Continue reading “That Which Surrounds Us: Selections from the Brandywine Art Prints, 1982-2013”