story-corpsWellesley StoryCorps

In Celebration of 50 Years of Ethos, Wellesley Women of Color Share Their Stories

What happens when Wellesley alumnae sit down for an open, candid conversation about their lives and careers, their hopes and fears, and the bond that connects them—their Wellesley experience?

This question lies at the heart of a unique partnership, begun in 2015, between Wellesley and NPR’s popular StoryCorps project, a national movement that invites people of all ages and from all walks of life to help create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview.

In a new installment of this inspiring, empowering, and often poignant podcast series, Wellesley alumnae of African descent from across the generations reflect upon the importance of Ethos and Harambee House to their experiences as women of color on campus.

Recorded by alumnae as a tribute to Ethos’ 50th anniversary, stories include these:

  • Karen Williamson ’69, an Ethos founder, and JudyAnn Bigby ’73 recall the early days of Ethos, and its first challenges and successes, including going from five black students in Williamson’s class to 57 black students in Bigby’s.
  • Pamela “Pamm” McNeil ’82 and Tracy Heather Strain ’82 reflect on their encounters with issues of race on campus and off, and describe how Ethos and Harambee House fostered unexpected, diverse, and enriching friendships.
  • Malika Jeffries-El ’96, Shelly Davis ’97, and Katrina Mitchell ’96 talk about organizing social events that brought Wellesley and the Boston community together.
  • Liz Miranda ’02 shares with Natalie Gill-Mensah ’03 how Ethos inspired her to give back by running for public office in her district this year.
  • Journalists Diamond Sharp ’11 and Ikhlas Saleem ’11 discuss the effects of social media on social movements, and how learning to communicate with different groups and social classes at Wellesley has helped them navigate the workplace and ensure that women’s and minorities’ voices are heard in the media.

Listen to Wellesley StoryCorps here.

We thank the Wellesley College Alumnae Association for this story.