45 Maxfield Ave
Dr. Tatum is a psychologist, scholar and researcher who served as president of Spelman College for thirteen years. She has met with Gordon students, faculty and parents several times over the past twenty years, and spoke at Gordon as part of the school’s centennial celebrations in 2010. An updated twentieth-anniversary edition of her classic 1997 book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race is being published in September.
Dr. Tatum’s engagement with Gordon goes back to 1998 as Gordon began its commitment to advancing a racially diverse community. In that year, Ralph Wales invited her to come to speak to the independent school community in Rhode Island.
Preparing for her talk, Dr. Tatum wrote to Head of School Ralph Wales:
“Over the last twenty years, the United States has seen a rapid and dramatic demographic transformation, the upheaval of the Great Recession of 2008, the election of Barack Obama, the emergence of Black Lives Matter, and the early days of the Trump presidency.
The need for effective dialogue about racism has become more urgent in recent years as the national conversation has become increasingly acrimonious.
As you know, many parents and teachers struggle with how to talk about these issues with children (and each other).
I’ll talk about why these conversations matter, and how an understanding of racial identity can help us build bridges across lines of difference in our schools and our communities.
Though I will make some opening remarks, those in attendance can expect to have a conversation with me, as there will be plenty of opportunity for Q&A.”
This event is free and open to the public.