On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 2:00 pm, Alcorn State University (ASU) celebrated heroic African American women who changed the course of this nation in the Women in History: A Progressive Movement Celebration in the J.D. Boyd Library’s Medgar Wiley Evers Auditorium. This celebration of women, young and old, paid homage to black female activists while also serving as an ode to women everywhere.
The Women’s Celebration was presided over by Alcorn State University Archivist, Joanna Williams. Amanda O’Quinn, Agricultural Sciences’ Administrative Assistant, gave the Invocation. Miss ASU 2018-2019, Moriah Batiest, greeted the guests. Next Tanya Woods, Archivist and Clerical Assistant introduced Hinds County Circuit Court Judge, The Honorable Adrienne Wooten, who was the guest speaker at the event.
Wooten began by giving tribute to Alice Clark, the first African American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives in the state of Mississippi and Alice Harden, the first Black woman in the Mississippi State Senate. These were two women who laid the groundwork for Wooten’s political career. Wooten, who is an Alcorn graduate, received her Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law in 1996, became the first African American female to hold the position of Circuit Court Judge of District 7, Place 1 in Hinds County Mississippi. She is an attorney who is a solo practitioner with the law firm of Adrienne Hooper-Wooten, PLLC where her areas of speciality include criminal law and she is in her eleventh year as a member of the House of Representatives for the State of Mississippi.
Wooten invoked Black girl magic as she listed the accomplishments of Shirley Chisholm, Mae Jemison, and Oprah Winfrey. She so boldly proclaimed, “We have been the first at many accomplishments such as the first at being doctors, lawyers, Emmy Award winners, etc. As Black girls we do have star power and we are amazing.”
The Women’s Celebration was an invocation of Black female power in the face of adversity while also seeking to inspire attendees to pursue their dreams in honor of their ancestors. Women could revel in a divine moment to reflect and revel in womanhood. In addition, the event was a beautiful recognition of every Black woman whose name and face may not be known, but who has given tirelessly of herself to help build the most powerful nation in the world.
Crystal Gray, a Junior Social Work major stated, “Today I was inspired to make something greater out of my life. I want to be like Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, and Shonda Rimes, who are powerful Black women.