‘Big Mamas’ honored at Hampton U. Black Family Conference
By IMANI CARTER
The 32nd Annual Black Family conference was held at Hampton University March 17- 19.
This year’s conference will be hosted by the College of Education and Continuing Studies. The motivation behind this conference is to celebrate the black family. The theme of the conference is based on the “Holistic Black Family: Mind, Body, and Spirit.”
Darnell Johnson, assistant dean, explained the logistics of the conference. There will be several workshops that will pertain to the individual, the family and children. Johnson has faith that the conference will be extremely informative and will encourage black families to be healthy families.
A major conference event is “Big Mama: A Salute to Grandmothers Luncheon.” A slideshow will be shown in tribute to all matriarchs. Also, one can expect to see a fashion show of extravagant hats being modeled by the faculty members.
The Black Family Conference Committee released a memo asking that students and faculty contribute family photos. Marcia Jackson, co- head of the committee stated that they have received 50 photos. Jackson has been amazed by many of the photos because of their historical value. Some photos were dated from the late 19th century.
Instantly, I thought back to being over my grandparent’s home in Baltimore this spring break and finding myself in awe from the black and white photographs that lined the wall. The first stunning picture was of my grandfather when he was a child. After looking at a photo of my young grandmother, I was amazed at how much she looked just like me.
Lastly, a photo of my married teenage grandparents brought tears to my eyes.
Jackson believes that such photos are important because black family history has been limited due to the transition from Africa to America. Therefore, she finds such photos refreshing.
Jackson’s eyes lit up while describing what she called the “darling photographs of little children.” She was also excited to see childhood photographs of her own co- workers and other faculty members.
The purpose of this slideshow presentation is to honor all family matriarchs, also known as the “Big Mamas.” Jackson said, “The role of the Big Mama is important because she unites, nurtures, and supports the family.” Norma Harvey, wife of HU President William R. Harvey, and other first ladies of local churches will be honored at the luncheon as well.