Dear Ethel Waddell Githii Scholar:

Welcome to Spelman College, and to the E. W. Githii Honors Book Blog. In choosing Spelman and Githii Honors, you are now members of this very particular community of readers, thinkers, questioners, artists, scholars, dreamers and doers, inventors, creators.

Artist/scholar Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, San Francisco) poses to us the question:

Where do we gather to think together?

Creating places to gather, to think, to question, to (in other words) explore the castles of our minds, is an important part of the culture of Githii Honors. Gathering together to think and “pass the world across our tongues” like the “kitchen poets” of novelist Paule Marshall’s creative apprenticeship, is a part of traditional women’s culture as well.

Our motto for the Book Blog might well be, “READ EVERYTHING—”

If you think about it, everything demands reading. Our lives, our neighborhoods, messages—spoken or unspoken—books, films, letters, the ingredient label on a can of soup or a box of cereal, the promises of lovers, politicians, advertisers….

This year, in the Castle, I hope we will introduce ourselves in our unique voices. When we meet in the fall, we will greet one another, once more, in a sisterhood of free expression and exchange.  Together,  we  will re-read social justice movements for our everyday use.

Opal J. Moore

Photograph: Elmina Castle. Elmina, Ghana (Opened 1482)/Google Maps

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2 thoughts on “About

  1. Discussions are initiated in classrooms, churches, and communities providing students and others with a safe place to explore ideas and the “castles of our minds.” The thoughts we house inside our minds, unwilling to release, break free in the most spontaneous, innovative, creative ways. A difference is made when ideas come to fruition, or hope becomes a possibility; and someone learns that they truly can accomplish anything. Intelligent, liberating discussions stem from feelings of respect, confidence, and security; therefore thinking in groups produces more results than undermining one’s educational efforts ever will.
    While reading the chosen summer reading books I discovered that the “castles of our minds” deserved to be strengthened, fortified, and protected. Whether through programs to help the overlooked overcome or the cultural sanctity of getting your hair done, no person should be deprived of the opportunity to think and thrive. Often in life many will succeed and leave others behind, assuming that is the way life works. However, only through protecting, nourishing the dreams of others can success be granted on a larger scale. Gathering to think ensures amazing results; but knowing you have support even when you are alone brings exponential growth.
    Reading everything, whether with understanding or not, leads to a greater knowledge of the outside world. However, group discussions regarding the reading material will result in a greater appreciation of the outside world. Frequently, the “castles of our minds” seek solace and isolation to protect what’s inside. We need discussions on topics that can break down walls and open eyes to achieve and benefit from a change of thought. Gathering to think becomes much more interesting when you leave a group with different ideas to explore, refute, or accept.

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  2. Annia, Thank you for your insights. Your observation that our minds “deserve to be strengthened, fortified and protected” and that “we need discussions “that can break down walls and open eyes to achieve and benefit from a change of thought” presents the tension in our proposition–that is, it is tempting to protect our ideas from being changed; to enter into a conversation with the aim of fortifying our minds against change. There is a word that I would add to yours–vulnerability. The safe space you mention allows us to make ourselves vulnerable. Paradoxically, that initial vulnerability makes us resilient in the work of making up and changing our minds, especially as the world changes around us, and as we work to make change. In what ways do we go about creating “safe spaces” even as well recognize the importance of challenging status quo ideas? Do women need to give special attention to creating such spaces? Are there “rules” or “guidelines” for making our spaces viable for this important work?

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