CHICAGO — The University of Chicago is preparing to unveil a sculpture in honor of a 1900s alumna, who was the first black woman to receive a doctorate from the university.
Students Asya Akca and Shae Omonijo will unveil a bust of Georgiana Rose Simpson at the Reynolds Club on Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Reynolds Club is the university’s student center that was once accessible only to white males.
“The University of Chicago is on the South Side in a predominantly African-American community, and yet there is not that much African-American history represented on our campus,” Omonijo said. “This is despite the fact that so many prominent black scholars came from this institution.”
Omonijo and Akca said they want to work to develop new monuments of women and minorities who have gone unrecognized for their contributions.
“Oftentimes women’s history is untold and underrepresented in our world,” Akca said. “That’s something we both want to fix. This is a problem, not only in Chicago, but in Washington, D.C., and Louisville (Ky.) and everywhere else.”
Records show Simpson was asked to leave the dorms after her presence caused uproar among students because of her race. She commuted to campus until she completed her studies. Simpson went on to write for W.E.B. Du Bois’ publications.
“U. of Chicago gets hundreds of visitors from across the world and U.S. touring the campus. They always go inside Reynolds Club,” Akca said. “The fact that Georgina Simpson will be there, in that hallway, means all those people who are coming to visit will see that the students here, and the university, values women’s history. This is the push in that direction.”
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com