Thursday, August 16, 2007

Legacy

legacy: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor


Well, I am back from my vacation. It was a great visit. My husband and I are originally from Chicago, so we spent the last week there seeing family and friends and just falling in love with the city again. We have never gone back in the summer since we moved to LA, only at Christmas. And if you know anything about Chicago, you know that the weather is CRAZY in the winter time. So, we never go anywhere when we are there. This is what its like:

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So you can understand why we pretty much stay in the house when we go in December.

But summer is another story. We had a blast. My mother had a backyard bar-b-que and many friends and family came over to see us. Well, you know how it is when you get around family. You get to hear all the great stories and family lore. Sometimes you learn something surprising. As I was looking through an old photo album that belonged to my grandmother, I noticed a small clipping taped to the front. Mind you, I have looked at this same album a million times over the last 3 decades and have never noticed this clipping. The clipping revealed to me that my great aunt, Janie L. Lester had earned a Bachelor's Degree from Spelman College and a MA from the University of Wisconsin. It also stated that she was the head of the Language Arts Dept, but it did not say at what institution. When I asked my mother about it, she said that she was the Dean of Women at Georgia State College, now Savannah State University. I was floored. I have heard countless stories over my life time, lots of them funny, some of them sad, but all of them interesting. But I had never ever heard this one. If you have read my blog before, you know that I am an African American. To have a great aunt accomplish something like this in the time in which she did it is HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a story that my family needs to tell. But to tell it, we must know it. So, I started researching and have not come up with a lot, but I did find this:

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This is a photo of a dorm named in her honor on the campus of Savannah State University. Unfortunately, the dorm has since been torn down. All the same, this is my family's legacy, our heritage. I was proud to be a part of my family anyway. I come from a long line of strong women. It just warms my heart to know that I was not the first to go to college and get a degree, and I am confident that there will be many more to do so in the future. My great aunt has given us this legacy to inspire us to look toward an incredible future as a family.

There is lots more to tell and pictures to post but I wanted this story to have its own place. Check back for more vacation stories soon!

12 comments:

Virtuous said...

Okay girl you must not know I am from Wisconsin so I KNOW all about that! LOL

GOOD STUFF about your aunt!! Hate the building is torn down now.

PAJNSTL said...

Such an awesome story! You should be very proud!
Can't wait to see your pictures!

Kamika said...

Congrats on finding out such great info on your aunt! Stories like this inspire me to do more. It's always great to have such a rich family heritage.

NH Knitting Mama said...

What an awesome story. It's too bad that the dorm is gone now, but at least you have the pics to tell the story. Hope we get to read more as you do the research.

Sounds like you had a great visit!

Nettie said...

Hi KimT

That is huge and I would be floored to find out this surprising fact all these years later too. Keep us informed on all the details. This kind of story does not only inspire your family but all of our families.

del said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. My DH is from Chicago & although I don't think he'd want to live in the snow anymore, I know he misses it sometimes. Those pictures are really beautiful.

I'm sure you're very proud of your family. I love hearing old family stories, too.

Criquette said...

What a fantastic piece of family history! It's hard to imagine that it hasn't been shared and handed down. What great pictures, especially since we've been in the triple digits!

Working Mom Knits said...

Your Great-Aunt must have been an AMAZING woman! So happy that the information is coming to you at a time when you can appreciate the magnitude of her accomplishments :)

persuede said...

What a great story...we don't often think of history as personal but your story just reinforces that we are all intimately connected to the stream in one way or another.

rock on!

Sheila said...

WoW!!! a phenomenal piece of family history and I agree with Persuede that we're all intimately connected. Definitely keep us abreast of any developments. That pic of Chicago reminds me of a Brooklyn street in February.

persuede said...

okay, random question from a near stranger...I have girlfriend who has a post-doc appointment at the University of IL, Urbana. She's from Connecticut. Asked me if I knew where a girl can go to get her hair done in chi-town. My grandparents lived there, but they passed years ago and I have no idea where folks are going these days...any suggestions from anyone?? She wears her hair natural and/or braided...

Deborah said...

wow, Savannah state. My dad lived there growing up. He was born in Agusta. I used to visit every year when my grandma moved back there during her retirement years.

Your story is so interesting and thanks for sharing it!