Opal Moore comes to the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program with more than 30 years in the academy. She is a publishing poet and writer. In her own words:
I come to the Honors Program as a citizen, a writer and a woman. What I know about creativity is that it demands courage, curiosity, and the willingness to own one’s questions. These may even be the inner workings of freedom.
What I bring to the Honors Program is the certainty that to be honorable requires all of these qualities, plus discipline—of the mind, and of purpose. My hope, as the Director of the Honors Program at Spelman College, is to enlist our students in affirming the importance of the black woman’s spiritual and intellectual legacy, which are not separate from but bound to the pursuits and practices of justice.
My efforts at Spelman College are toward the unabashed embrace of black women’s intellectual community— its history, logic, affirmation and daily expression of the awesome thing that is, and has always been. Where, if not here, will black women be encouraged and unabashed to maintain a living culture and practice of engagement with ideas and consciousness of worth, as love. The Honors Program is a symbol of that larger and deeper understanding of women’s community—and an imperative.
If not here, among women deliberately gathered, then where can the life of the mind be better understood as life force?
The poets practice the life of the mind—it is expressed in Gwendolyn Brooks’ “hard flower”. It is the “natural process” of poet Nikki Giovanni who wrote:
…i awoke and dug
that if I dreamed natural
dreams of being a natural
woman doing what a woman
does when she’s natural
i would have a revolution
Opal Moore is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Spelman College. She holds two Masters degrees, an MA from the University of Iowa’s School of Fine Arts, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has taught literature and writing in diverse settings in the US and, as a Fulbright Scholar, taught writing as story at the Johannes Gutenburg-Universitaet Mainz, and delivered lectures and workshops across Germany, in Austria and in Greece.