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Morehouse Celebrates Queens Past and Present

75 Years of Homecoming-Crown and Gowns Exhibit

ATLANTA, October 28-30, 2004 – Morehouse College, the nation’s premiere institution of higher education for men, will celebrate this year’s 75th Homecoming Anniversary with an exhibit to honor some of the women who have played a role in supporting the college.

The grand opening of “Crowns and Gowns: the legacy of Miss Maroon and White,” opens the evening of October 28th at the African American Hall of Fame on Morehouse College’s campus. It will feature more than 100 original and recreated coronation gowns, homecoming suits, crowns, photographs and memorabilia dating back to 1935. To mark this milestone, former queens and their attendants will return to the college for the exhibit opening, kicking-off a three-day homecoming celebration.

Many of the queens have had illustrious careers in their various professions since wearing the title of “Miss Maroon and White.” Dr. Gladys Forde, a retired professor from Fisk University heads the list as one the oldest living queens; she was crowned in 1938. Mrs. Ella Gaines Yates was the first African-American Director of the Atlanta Fulton County Public Library; she reigned in 1949. Others include: the Honorable Brenda Cole, a Superior Court Judge (crowned in 1961); Dr. Anne Ashmore Poussaint Hudson, noted psychologist and former student Civil Rights activist (crowned in 1962); Kathleen Jackson Bertrand, Vice President, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and well-known Atlanta jazz artist (crowned in 1972); and Jerri DeVard, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing for Verizon Wireless, who served as queen in 1978.

Last Spring Morehouse College received a grant in the amount of $99,000 from the Institute of Library and Museum. Crowns and Gowns is one of several archival projects being funded by the grant, which also established the Department of Archives at Morehouse.

“When we first began this project last spring, “said Morehouse College Archivist, Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr., “we weren’t exactly sure where it would take us. But once we started locating the queens and saw their interest, it quickly took on a life of its own. The thing that I’m most proud of is the level of student involvement. Our men are so creative; they’re helping to bring this exhibit to life.”

Since the very first crowning in 1935, Morehouse’s Homecoming queens have come from Spelman College and nearby Clark Atlanta University.

The “Crowns and Gowns” exhibit will run from October 28th through November 21st. For more information regarding the exhibit and other Homecoming Celebrations, please log onto the Morehouse College website at www.morehouse.edu..

Posted by Kara at October 26, 2004 10:45 PM

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