With Black History Month coming to an end, we would like to let everyone know of Berea’s special connection to Black History Month. Black History Month, as many may know, is the month designated for learning and honoring what Black / African American people who have contributed to history. Although February is the shortest month of the year and Black History is American History we still recognize the month as much. Berea’s special connection to Black History Month is linked to a man named Carter G. Woodson.
In 1926, Woodson launched what he was called “Negro History Week.” In 1976, that would transform into Black History Month as we know it today. You may be wondering what all of this has to do with Berea College. Well Carter G. Woodson arrived at Berea College in 1897 from formerly enslaved parents in Virginia. Determined to receive an education Woodson, taught himself the fundamentals of common school subjects until he was 17 years old. After that when he was 20 years old Woodson, simultaneously worked as a West Virginia coal miner and as a student, earning his high school diploma in less than two years. He would later graduate from Berea College with a bachelor’s of Literature. After leaving Berea College, Woodson also went to the University of Chicago where he received another bachelor’s and master’s degree. As impressive as that may seem he does not stop there. Woodson then when to the Sorbonne in Paris and finally to Harvard University where he earned a Ph.D. in history. He is the second African American to graduate from Harvard following W.E.B. DuBois. After he received his degree from Harvard he became an African American historian and writer. Here at the Visitor Center and Shoppe, we salute Carter G. Woodson for the advancement he made in United States history. We also could not be more proud that he is an alumnus of Berea College.
It is very well known that Berea College was the first interracial and coeducational college in the south. On this Martin Luther King Jr. day, it is important realize not only has Berea College invested in the potential of people of color, it has also invested in the potential of women. It would take several years for many other colleges and universities to invest in the academic needs of the women on their campus. Berea College, however, was founded with equal education opportunities in mind. That may have something to do with a very strong woman who is often looked over when discussing the founding of this school. That woman is Reverend John G. Fee’s wife Matilda. Mrs. Fee was an abolitionist just as her husband, in fact, she saved Rev. Fee from would be lynch mobs and took in African American boards when the school reopened in 1866. Many people saw her as a woman characterized by prayer and service to others. Mrs. Fee would even later become head of the Ladies Care board on campus, which supervised the life of students. Someone once said “behind every great man is a great woman,” and surely this applies to the Fees.
This Sunday, January 21st there will be women’s marches all over the world. They stand together for equality, justice, and tolerance. Organizers see this as an opportunity to ignite others and gain new leaders. The strength women possess has been exhibited many times throughout history, and even now. Women across the globe are taking a stance against the many injustices they face, such as unequal education opportunities, unequal job pay, and sexual misconduct. One example of this is recent #MeToo Movement. The #MeToo movement spread virtually through social media in October 2017. The hashtag denounces sexual assault and harassment in wake of many sexual misconduct allegations coming to light. Activist Tarana Burke is credited with starting the hashtag, but actress Alyssa Milano popularized it and encouraged women to tweet their experiences. This movement later made way for the Times Up movement. Times Up launched a few days ago. It raised $13 million dollars in legal defense fund administered by the National Women’s Law Center, to support low-income women seeking justice for sexual harassment/ assault in the workplace. It also advocates for tougher legislation against companies that tolerate persistent harassment and gender parity in studio and talent agencies. Once again, we see strong women daring to change history.
Berea College has always been seen as a sort of safe haven to the people who come here. Whether we are talking about Carter G. Woodson who came to Berea from enslaved parents in Virginia, and would later become the father of black history or, students living in Appalachia with big dreams and low income. Once a guest gets to Berea most of those worries are supposed to settle and the effects of being in – what the students have affectionately named- the Berea Bubble begin to settle in. Berea got its name from the Bible in the Book of Acts. The people of the Biblical Berea were open-minded and critical thinkers. Paul and Silas often went there to preach because the people there were eager to listen to the word of God. They exhibited positive characteristics and were seen as very noble. But one of the biggest things that the Berean Christians in the Bible did was guard Paul and keep him safe. Continue reading Berea: A Safe Haven →
Welcome to the very first Berea College Visitor Center & Shoppe Blog. My name is Kerringtan and it is my pleasure to write this weekly blog. Berea College was founded in 1855 by slave abolitionist named Reverend John G. Fee. Reverend Fee was a radical man with a vision of inclusion. When he founded Berea College in 1855 it was interracial and coeducational. This was even before the Civil War so you can only imagine all of the turmoil this caused during that time. However, Berea College was fearless and still is. One way that it still exhibits its fearlessness is by guaranteeing a tuition-free scholarship to every student accepted. In place of the student’s tuition, we all work for the college. This makes Berea College one of the most affordable schools in the country. Continue reading ABOUT THE STORE →