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CLICK ON THE BANNER TO THE RIGHT TO GO TO THE NEW WEBSITE COMMEMORATING AFRICAN AMERICAN MILESTONES AT VANDY >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Welcome Class of 2019!

The Vanderbilt community is invited to the panel discussion

“Memorial Hall: Its origin, history, and evolution”

6pm, Sunday, August 30, 2015
Student Life Center Ballroom

Featuring

  • James Floyd, Office of General Counsel
  • David Williams, Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics
  • Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of American History
  • Jalisia Singleton, A&S ’14, Teach for America, Co-Founder of Hidden Dores
  • Vanessa Beasley, Moderator; Dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and Associate Professor of Communications Studies

The program is a collaboration of the Office of the Dean of the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, the Dean of Students office, Vanderbilt Student Government, Black Student Alliance, Vanderbilt NAACP, Project I Am, and Vanderbilt Organization of Black Graduate and Professional Students (OBGAPS).

Please join us.

Artist Exhibit by Omari Booker

Why do I Smile?  The Universal Unconcealed Weapon
The idea for this series began with the realization of the impurity of my smile.  While I often smile due to pure joy, I found that there are a plethora of reasons that the corners of my mouth curl North.My smile is a survival instinct, comparable to ducking when I hear a loud noise.  A smile often comes over my face when I am happy to see you, but the same smile is shown because i’m keenly aware of the fear my presence elicits.

I have found my smile to be a weapon.  It is unconcealed, and has become an instinct of survival as much as joy.  A smile is often the only weapon that can fight fire.  A gun will always be met with a bigger gun eventually, but a smile has a way of disarming opposition at least for a moment.

The smile that people of color are expected to wear as a survival tactic in this country drives home the reality that we are in large part visitors and not home in America-even for Native Americans who have the only legitimate claim to the land.  The smile that I learned to wear is a smile that makes other Americans comfortable with the fact that I am here.  It also feeds the illusion that regardless of the discrimination and brutality that people of color undergo, we are happy and lucky to be here.  Still, I smile, and will continue to… because the instinct to smile out of pure joy is also essential for survival.