February 11, 2022


Yesterday, Sisters Chapel opened its doors, once again, to convocation.

Dr. Joyce Johnson's organ selection and Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry's prayer set the tone for the morning. We were inspired by reflections delivered by two of our extraordinary Spelman faculty, Michell Hite, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Ethel Waddel Githii Honors Program and Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, C'95, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental and health Sciences.

Our students who participated including junior, Serena Echols and our Spelman string ensemble of first year students Sydney Scott, Zuraye Alford, and Gabrielle Quarles; and first year student Madylyn McSwain who led us in singing the Spelman Hymn--were outstanding.

More than 550 community members attended our virtual gathering and 317 joined us in person. We enjoyed reading the enthusiastic comments in the chat.

As a memento of the occasion, and as a balm as we continue to find solace, I offer these three poems, which Dr. Hite included in her reflection.

Enjoy. And keep the faith.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President Spelman College

by Camille T. Dungy

I will enter you as hope enters me,
through blinding liquid, light of rain, and I
will stay inside until you send me out;
I will stay inside until you ground me.
We cannot outrun the rain. So many
summers I have tried. So many summers.
But when the rumble calls after the spark
there can be no escape. No outstripping
the drench soak, the wet sheath, the water caul.
This is more than you want to hear. Much more
than I want to tell you. Tabernacle
transporting my life from the desert, you,
the faith I am born and reborn into,
you, rescuer, deliverer of rain.

Won’t You Celebrate with Me
by Lucille Clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

His Hands
by Natasha Trethewey

His hands will never be large enough.
Not for the woman who sees in his face
the father she can't remember,
or her first husband, the soldier with two wives --
all the men who would only take.
Not large enough to deflect
the sharp edges of her words.
Still he tries to prove himself in work,
his callused hands heaving crates
all day on the docks, his pay twice spent.
He brings home what he can, buckets of crabs
from his morning traps, a few green bananas.
His supper waits in the warming oven,
the kitchen dark, the screen hooked.
He thinks, make the hands gentle
as he raps lightly on the back door.
He has never had a key.
Putting her hands to his, she pulls him in,
sets him by the stove. Slowly, she rubs oil
into his cracked palms, drawing out soreness
from the swells, removing splinters, taking
whatever his hands will give.

Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30314

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