"Talk Doesn't Cook the Soup"

Personal Reflections on a Rites of Passage Program

  • Kenja McCray



The creator, Kenja McCray, is an Associate Professor of History at Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC), where she teaches United States and African American history. AMSC is an institution within the University System of Georgia offering an affordable liberal arts education and committed to serving a diverse, urban student population. McCray has a B.A. from Spelman College, an M.A. from Clark Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Her areas of interest are the 19th and 20th century U. S., African Americans, Africa and the diaspora, transnational histories, women, class and social history.

The creator of this essay believes education should be a life-altering process, not only in the intellectual or the economic sense, but also cognitively uplifting. She experienced personal change in college through interacting with professors. She strives to give students a similarly inspirational experience. The encounter should be empowering and should change the way they see themselves and their relationships to the world. The intent of this creative piece is to share the creator’s contemplations on a rites of passage program in which she participated during her college years. She asserts that, given current cultural trends signaling a renewed interest in African-centered ideals and black pride, many aspects of the program could interest current students looking for safe spaces in increasingly intolerant times. This essay will interest researchers, student leaders, student activities advisors, and other administrators seeking to create and develop inclusive campus programs.