Vashti Dubois: embrace the extraordinary in the ordinary
This month, in honor of Women’s History month, we invited Vashti Dubois to speak at Historic Fair Hill.
On an early spring Saturday, a small group of women and men gathered at the grave of Lucretia Mott and remembered the five women who started the women’s movement in Seneca Falls, NY, 168 years ago. Their Declaration of Sentiments included, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
Vashti DuBois is a Germantown artist, teacher, and the creative force behind the Colored Girls Museum. She encouraged the group to experience the Ordinary Extraordinary. “We know about our extraordinary leaders, and we also need to pay attention to the ordinary/extraordinary inside all of us.”
DuBois led a responsive reading of Audre Lord’s poem, a walking dialogue in pairs around the grounds, and then a spoken word chorus that she conducted. Her presentation drew on her background in theater events and engaged everyone present in an exploration of what we each can contribute.
The Colored Girls Museum is “committed to empowering women and girls from the inside out. We believe that we can dramatically improve the spiritual, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions of all communities by supporting women and girls at every stage of their development. The Colored Girls Museum is Sanctuary not for Colored Girls Only–but for anyone who is ready for a conscious revolution!” Visits can be arranged via their website.
Historic Fair Hill has long had a history of celebrating Women’s History Month. Lucretia Mott and Mary Ann M’Clintock, of the Seneca Falls Convention, are buried there. In the early 20th century Alice Paul, one of the key figures in the struggle for the Nineteenth Amendment, would lead a yearly pilgrimage to Mott’s grave. Women’s rights activists would gather to mark the continuity of their struggle. In the end, only one signer of the Seneca Falls Conference would survive long enough to vote, but the passage of the amendment was a direct result of the movement they started.
We are honored to have shared this day with Vashti Dubois and everyone who attended.
In the photo, above: Sakinah, Carolyn, Bethann, Armani, and Vashti.