UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Politics Were Personal, at Women’s History Lecture

Dr. Lisa Levenstein (History) thought there should be an endowed lectureship in women’s history. And now there is.

“It is fitting for UNCG to have such a lectureship because of our history as a women’s college and our current strength in women’s and gender studies. We have one of the oldest women’s studies programs in the nation and now have faculty in a range of disciplines who work on gender and women’s issues,” Levenstein said.

Dr. Sudie Duncan Sides gave the inaugural Duncan Women’s History Lecture, on “Personal Politics and History.”

Sides spoke of her life experiences – growing up in Ohio and visiting with relatives in Oxford, NC. Of being a student at Woman’s College – her shame at walking through a picket line so she could see “Porgy and Bess” at the then-segregated cinema on Tate Street influenced her greatly. “Never been so ashamed,” she said. As she sat in the theatre, “I had my ‘come to Jesus’ moment,” she said. Her experience during the Woolworth sit-ins had an impact as well. She spoke of her experiences as a spouse and a mother, as an American citizen, as a teacher in San Francisco. She shared the joys and sorrows and the wisdom gained, as she described the country’s story intersecting with hers. “We must tell our stories to one another,” she said. “Keep your journals and your diaries … Our stories are rich in meaning.”

Dr. Lollie White (Development) invited individuals to fund the lecture – Peggy Duncan Jeens in a will bequest and Emily Soapes, who has provided funds for the next three years. “We currently have funding for three years,” Levenstein said.

The Duncan Women’s History Lecture honors the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Duncan, who sent two daughters to the history department of WC, and to honor the members of the classes of 1959 (of which Jeens is one) and 1961 (of which Sides is one).

And the inaugural lecture last week in Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room drew a large gathering – additional chairs were brought in. Levenstein and Dean Timothy Johnston briefly spoke, then benefactor Jeens spoke.

Mary Jane Phillips Dickerson, who was Jeens’ roommate at WC, wrote and recited the poem “The Girls in the Library,” in which she had allusions to Randall Jarrell and his work.

“From the start, the field of women’s history has made it a priority to engage the community with our work,” Levenstein said afterward. “It is my hope that this lectureship will not just draw students and faculty from UNCG but will also engage alumni and members of the Greensboro community at large.”