Period family photographs a hit at Hampton Univ. conference


“The Holistic Black Family: Mind, Body, and Spirit” is the theme surrounding the 32nd Annual Black Family Conference sponsored by the College of Education and Continuing Studies at Hampton University.

The three-day event, starting March 17, touches on education, staying healthy and keeping up with physical fitness, and spirituality within the African-American family. Each day different events will take place. The final event wrapping up the conference is a tribute to Grandmothers, the pivotal member that continues to hold the Black family together.

For the final event concluding the 2010 Black Family Conference is a luncheon honoring grandmothers in the black family. “Big Mama: A Salute to Grandmothers Luncheon” will acknowledge the women who have held African American-families together for centuries.

During the luncheon, a slide show featuring 50 videos and photos submitted by various Hampton University faculty and staff members will be shown.

Marcia Jackson, a Hampton University faculty member, said all the pictures submitted were memorable not only to her but the members who offered their pictures for viewing as well: “I found all the pictures to be memorable, but I really was interested in the historical pictures submitted.”

Jackson showed off a simple black- and white-picture that showed a black family in a formation and depicted their progression. A simple photo that placed elders in the back, their children in between, and the current generation at the front revealed the idea that the Black Family Conference is trying to portray this year: “Big Mama” is the key to a successful black family.

Patrick Lewis, chairman of the department of political science and history, was another faculty member who was all for the featured slideshow and luncheon to celebrate grandmothers. Lewis helped formulate and organize the first Black Family Conference 32 years ago and expressed his appreciation for the scheduled luncheon: “I agree with the idea of showing photos and videos of grandmothers in black families. It not only shows the importance of the immediate family, but the extended as well. It is very African.”

Lewis believes that although many of the ideas from the first Black Family Conference in the late 1970s to the 32nd have gone astray, the idea to honor grandmothers is a great way to show acknowledgment for everything they have done for the Black family.

“Big Mama: A Salute to Grandmothers Luncheon” takes place on Friday, March 19 in the Student Center Ballroom from noon to 2 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon are $30.