Atlanta University Center: Robert W. Woodruff Library


So I decided to do this supplemental post on a trip I took to the AU Center, as a part of the Atlanta Student Movement project (information on the movement can be found here) I was involved in, with Dr. Jeanne Bohannon.


A photo I took of the inside of the AU Center. The university has spared no expense in providing students with a peaceful environment that is equipped with modern fixtures, artwork, and technology.


At the AU Center, we had the opportunity to delve into the history of the Atlanta Student Movement that happened here in our own backyard of Atlanta, Ga where black students gathered, on their own, to lead a movement against segregation in the 60’s. Their major feat being their successful sit-ins at Rich’s department store, that did not want blacks eating in the very store where they spent money.


Rich’s Department Store in the 60’s. Building still stands, in Atlanta.


The AU Center staff gave us about a 2 hour long presentation on the movement and allowed us to view primary documents such as hand-written notes, itineraries, and even an original print of the newspaper where the students had their Appeal to Human Rights manifesto printed. Though we were not able to take pictures of the documents themselves, it was still fascinating to see them, in person.

A brief video on the Atlanta Student Movement


While we were at the AU Center, we were also able to talk to Dr. Lonnie King, who was one of the organizers of the movement. he was supposed to meet with us in person, but he had unfortunately been injured and unable to. All-in-all, hearing him speak on his experiences probably had the largest impact on most of the students who went with me. His efforts, along with others around our own ages, led to changes that swept that state of Georgia, in relation to segregation and equal treatment, under the law.

Though we were unable to take photographs of documents, we were able to take some of the people on the wall.


Johnny Parham was one of the men involved in the movement. I took his picture because his last name struck me, being that it is similar to the name of my late great grandmother. 


Here is a video provided to us by Dr. Bohannon. It is of an interview she did with Dr. Lonnie King, where he answers questions on the movement. It is quite long, but is incredibly useful. Lastly, if anyone is interested, feel free to check out the podcasts some friends and I did, on the Atlanta Student Movement. They are all short and give brief histories, with a bit of commentary from the group.

Interview With Dr. Bohannon
Arlington to Atlanta
Rich’s Sit-ins
Secret Chamber of Commerce Meeting


Female Panel Presentation: Response



There have been many panels that have been presented at KSU, but this is the first one I ever attended. the topic is not one that would usually incline me to excitement, but it was fairly interesting. While I am certain that many from our class will surely write on the feminist aspects, for which the presentation was focused, I was actually more interested in something that came from a place I did not expect.


The four panelists discussing their respective projects and how they aim to utilize culture to impact society.

A bit toward the end of the discussion, the panel opened up the floor for the students in the audience to ask questions of the panelists. One female student began to tell her story, from an interesting perspective: of someone born from interracial parents. The one thing she said that was interesting to me was that her struggle was in finding out what it means to be “fully black” when you have one parent who is, and one who isn’t. It is an interesting thing to think about on the one hand because I know that my future children will probably ask me similar questions. On the other hand, it is interesting to me, that she chose one side, over the other, when she is both equally.

As a thought experiment though, it truly is fascinating to see what people come up with, when thinking of such a question. Especially when we consider that very few “black” people in America (whose ancestors have been here for generations) are actually 100%, or “fully black” to use the young woman’s words. In actuality, most are a mixture.


My own personal Ancestry map, from the research I have done. Africa, Various parts of Europe, though about 10 generations of my family have resided in the Georgia & Virginia areas.

This fact hit home to me when I started doing our family ancestry and I found out that I, myself have about 20-30% European ancestry, 60% African ancestry, as well as Cherokee ancestry. Though these results all matched with the oral familial stories we have been told for years, it was interesting to see them put in actual number form. This gave me a bit of a more nuanced view of what it meant to be anything because truly, we are all a mixture of the beautiful intricacies of those who came before us, of those who lived rich and diverse lives, and of those who traversed the world to bring us to where we all are now. 

This question of what it means to be “black” falls short, in my estimation, of the real question that should have been asked: what does your heritage tell you about being a human in this diverse and nuanced world, of which we are all apart? At the end of the end of the day, the immutable comes to little meaning. Skin may influence culture and it may place you in a community where you have an obvious aesthetic commonality, but it does not determine intelligence, worldview, where a person will end up in life, or that person’s worth. There is beauty in every living being and to me, there is a subtle beauty in seeing that which is at odds, come into oneness. But as humans do, we tend to focus on one part of ourselves, rather than on the self, as a whole. In seeing ourselves in such a way, we fracture ourselves; disregarding the intricate strands that makes us who we are. Who we are is not found on the outside, but just a bit deeper beneath the surface.

This panel was quite interesting to me because I do enjoy seeing the perspectives of other people. Though the panelists had different experiences and worldviews than my own, I think there is something to be said for allowing those perspectives to flourish, so we can learn from one another and broaden our own views. This is what allows us to become more effective rhetoricians, as we step onto our respective rhetorical stages in life.