This month, alumna Dr. Anne C. Bailey ’82 led the first in a series of discussions for St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s faculty about the history of anti-Black racism in the United States. The first session, “Africans and Their History,” laid the foundation, providing a sweeping timeline of Africa, from its powerful ancient kingdoms to its innovative modern-day tech hubs. She described the relationship of respect between the ancient civilizations of Africa and Greece, and the seismic shift in the racial construct when scientific racism emerged in Europe during the scientific revolution.
Reflecting on why this work is so critical, Dr. Bailey emphasized “History matters, and here at St. Hilda’s, you care about your history.”
The impact even one teacher or one class can have is enormous, Dr. Bailey said, sharing a powerful memory of her own St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s experience. Reading Toni Morrison’s Sula with the late Mrs. Shirley Harrison, a beloved teacher of English and theater, was a transformative experience that set her on the path to study race and the Black experience in America.
Dr. Bailey is a professor of history at SUNY Binghamton and the founding Director of the Binghamton University/Harriet Tubman Center for the Study of Freedom and Equity. She is the author of The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History, and you can read her article for The New York Times 1619 Project here. She will lead four more lectures for faculty this fall, along with some additional sessions with St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's parents.