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.
Despite this progress, integration did not prevent harassment of Black students by other organizations. Stories of white fraternities remaining off-campus in an attempt to exclude other demographics from joining their organization was one of many loopholes utilized after all on-campus organizations were required to integrate in 1961. To get a better understanding of the ever-evolving socio-political climate of UT Austin, be sure to check out our digital archive containing photographs, oral history interviews, and transcripts of the Delta Xi Chapter.
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”
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”
Fall of 2019 was busy for the BDA! With the contributions of UT Libraries staff, the AKA Scholars Black Diaspora Archive Intern, and Archival Enterprise I students from the UT iSchool, three collections were processed:
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”
The Black Diaspora Archive’s foundational collection, the Edmund Gordon Papers, 1933-2010, is highlighted in the exhibition Life, Leadership, and Learning: From the Archive of Edmund W. Gordon. The exhibition is now on view in the second floor gallery at the Benson Latin American Collection.