Quick post today since I am going to link to something longer worth reading.
The venue I run is associated with a university across town that made things right for an alum after it was deferred for 50 years. One of the first Black women admitted to the university back in the 60s was pursuing a career in medical illustration and so was majoring in both biology and art. However, as a result of some racist motivations, the chair of the art department at the time denied her an opportunity to mount a final exhibit. As a result, she was able to graduate with the biology degree, but not the art degree.
That student, Gwendolyn Middleton Payton, had a chance midnight meeting at the Atlanta airport with one of the university history faculty and happened to relate her story. The faculty member advocated for her leading to Payton receiving her final exhibit and degree last Friday.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) wrote an extensive story I referenced earlier. If you are interested, there is a video on Facebook of Payton’s remarks at the exhibit.
Our marketing director was responsible for shepherding a lot of the details along, including the AJC interview and had mentioned Payton’s son was on The Walking Dead. For some reason, I didn’t make the connection that her son is Khary Payton, who I actually knew better as a voice actor for a lot of superhero cartoons, until his mother mentioned him in her talk.
Through our marketing director, I learned some roadblocks and assumptions that thwarted her earlier efforts to get her full degree that illustrated people did not appreciate the enormity of the challenges Payton faced. She said she had to pick her battles and if you read the AJC article, you will see she fought a lot. She just chose not to fight the final exhibition battle when graduation was imminent.