MHC Celebrates Hortense Parker Day April 15

Posted: April 7, 2009

The first annual Hortense Parker Day Celebration will honor the women of color who are attending and have graduated from Mount Holyoke College by recognizing the first known woman of color to graduate, Hortense Parker, class of 1883. The event will take place April 15 in Chapin Auditorium, 6-8 pm.

The program will begin with an uplifting song by Mount Holyoke's own M & Cs, Nice Shoes, and V-8s a cappella groups led by Evelyn Harris, an original member of Sweet Honey in the Rock. The program will also include a screening of Experienced Diversity, by Ahyoung An ’09 and Camila Curtis-Contreras ’09, with a panel discussion to follow.

Barbara Smith ’69 will deliver the keynote address for the event. She is a member of the Albany, New York City Council and has made significant contributions to black feminist thought in the U.S. Some of her many accomplishments include cofounding Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for women of color; establishing the Combahee River Collective; and editing Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology.

An, who is organizing the event with Curtis-Contreras, said, “we hope to raise awareness in the College community of the history and the achievements of women of color at Mount Holyoke, and to celebrate women of color at Mount Holyoke--past, present, and future. We hope to hear from current students of color, and discuss the work that can be done in the future to strengthen the College’s commitment to diversity.”

Curtis-Contreras added, “Another objective of ours is to see this day becoming institutionalized so future students of color can truly feel a part of the College community."

This event is sponsored by the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, the Office of the Dean of the College, Student Programs, the Alumnae Association, and the Departments of Music and Gender Studies.

Related Links:

Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts

Alumnae Association