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April 4, 2008

mckay_450.jpgFrances Smith Foster

First, let me say that this post needs to be short because of my promise to myself and you that the pictures will do more work than the words.

Nellie McKay, the woman on the right, worked here for a long time and labored to get people to believe that literature written by black women deserved consideration.  She passed away in January 2006.  I never got to meet her; but I have walked into her legacy and a palpable sense of her loss.

Frances Smith Foster came to speak yesterday (postponed after a snow-out in February) in a series honoring Nellie McKay.  I was unable  to attend the daytime roundtable, but did hear her evening talk.  The ostensible subject of the talk was an 1820s black newspaper, particularly advice columns, editorials, travel advertisements and international news.  I’ll skip the reasons why I felt connected to that work and can’t wait to read the book.  The main feeling though, seemed to be about the legacy, the work that was created, the lives touched.  Today Frances Smith Foster is meeting with Nellie McKay’s graduate students who are still on campus.  Most people give less during their invited talks.

Despite the fact that I felt (feel) exhausted, I was really glad to attend the talk and the dinner afterwards.  Both  snapped me back into a place where I can see some possible importance to my presence here.  Much of the time here, I feel overwhelmed, stressed and isolated.  As a result, I focus too much on the next step to pay attention to the big picture.

Now I’m caught up from yesterday.