Saturday, January 5, 2019

"I used to pick cotton": Lovalerie King and perspective

"I used to pick cotton," Lovalerie King once told me. I had been asking her how she maintains and keeps perspective in a field, profession, and job where she was constantly receiving slights. She was noting that in some ways her identity and experiences aligned her with a large number of black women scholars. So she was able to draw on the many lessons they had shared.

At the same time, she informed me, her route to and through the academy did not align with many of the black women in her age group and at universities in general. She had decided to pursue a career in the academy much later than almost all of her colleagues.

Many aspiring professors to college after high school. Well, Lovalerie was initially working to support her younger siblings and then her children and later still her ailing mother. So she first completed her undergrad degree after she retired from decades of work. She pointed those things out to me not as a way of showing she was exceptional. Instead, she wanted me to get a sense of where she was coming from, and why she carried herself as she did, sometimes at a distance.

Her timeline, therefore, was different from many of ours. That may have also explained why she was motivated to be so productive.

Part 4: Lovalerie King's incredible scholarly productivity

Lovalerie King in context
A Notebook on Lovalerie King

No comments: