To Whom It May Concern:
“A Bennett Belle is a phenomenal woman and she will never stop historically ringing.” – Brooke A. Kane, 39th Miss Bennett College.
We are contacting you in regard to the fact that our beloved institution – a historically black college for women, Bennett College, is in danger of closing its doors. The news of the possible loss of our accreditation was distributed to students on December 11th, 2018 and as a result, our college President, Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, is doing everything in her power to ensure that the Oasis (how we lovingly refer to our school) remains for many generations to come. Many students, known as Bennett Belles, have dealt with this possibility as they possess the greatest fear and tension in their own hearts because this impending threat that we are facing coming February 1st, 2019, from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Bennett College was founded in 1873 as a school that assisted in educating freed slaves during the era of Reconstruction and then, became an all-women’s institution in 1926. It is one of the only two safe havens for black women seeking an education in a world that has seemingly pushed these very women against a wall, clawing at an opportunity to be acknowledged and recognized for their intellect and talents.
Since the year of 1926, Bennett has gone onto produce women that are not only phenomenal in their own right but also, leaders who are destined to shape the very world they live in such as actress Mildred Natwick, artist Beverly Buchanan, surgeon Dorothy Lavinia Brown, Carolyn R. Payton: the 1977 Director of the United States Peace Corps, and so many more beautiful Belles that have carved their names in Herstory.
As of today, there are only 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in operation today and we do not wish to see this number drop any further. As a result, we wish to preserve this place we call home and our institution has since launched a social media campaign titled #StandWithBennett that has not only promoted awareness to many individuals on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but has given us a following that has pulled together various Historically Black Colleges and Universities to stand with our institution in this troubled time.
It is our hope that this correspondence reaches you in good health and prompts you to show your support for not only our institution, but for all Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Be it a monetary donation or introducing these institutions for higher learning to your network of those who wish to give back to their communities. The values of teamwork, integrity, civic engagement, leadership, and imagination that Bennett impresses upon her students are just some of the amazing things that not only produce productive members of society, but also allows for the development of lifelong bonds of sisterhood and friendship which she prides herself in.
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We cannot imagine a world where Bennett College is no longer standing. We are mentally incapable of envisioning this because we know, in our hearts of all hearts, that the Land of Black Girl Magic will reign supreme, that the Belles of past, present, and future will still have a place to call home and that they will be able to wave their wands and create magic for a lifetime, in whatever path or profession they choose.
It has been stated time and time again that while at Bennett, the girl you are will meet the woman you will become; where you find your purpose and learn that strength, wisdom and compassion are the fruits of our labor.
We hope that this letter has resonated with you in some shape, form or fashion. Please consider the fact that 465 young women are currently seeking an accredited liberal arts degree with the hope that they are to make a productive difference in this world when at times they are told that they are inferior.
Taylor Adkins ’21
Dejah Allen ‘20