Professor Malveaux's remarks for Black History Month included references to the nation's 20th century civil rights struggles. The sign held aloft advertised the candidacy for lieutenant governor of George Wallace Jr., son of the late segregationist governor of Alabama.
Professor Malveaux Speaks About Black History Month at Area High School
Catholic University law professor Suzette Malveaux gave a Feb. 9 keynote address to an audience of about 600 high school students, administrators and teachers at the Academy of the Holy Cross to celebrate Black history month and diversity.
Holy Cross is an all-girls Catholic high school located in Kensington, Md., and describes itself as “committed to developing women of courage, compassion, and scholarship who responsibly embrace the social, spiritual, and intellectual challenges of the world.”
“I had a wonderful time at their school assembly, sharing lessons learned, career advice, and stories promoting girl empowerment and racial diversity,” said Malveaux.
Her remarks were often personal. Malveaux reminisced about growing up in Columbia, Md., an innovative planned community that put great emphasis on diversity and commitment to the community. The local families were a rainbow of skin colors, ethnicities and religious affiliations, but children and adults mixed closely, learning that they had more in common than they differed.
“Every day at dusk, I would ride my bike through the neighborhood delivering newspapers on my paper route, feeling the security of belonging,” Malveaux recalled for the audience.
She also explained to the young women the increasingly blurred lines between racial categories in America in 2011. Malveaux’s own heritage includes French, Spanish, and African-American ancestry; her daughter also has Filipino, Portuguese, and Cherokee added to the mix.
“She could check every box on the census form!” quipped Malveaux. The law professor, who has written in the past about issues related to diversity in the law, complimented the teenagers on today’s broader view of humanity.
“One of the things I love about this generation is your willingness to let go of old, limiting definitions of people when it comes to race,” she said.
Holy Cross’s theme through this academic year is Embracing Cultural Diversity. While Malveaux spent a good portion of her remarks on the subject, she also discussed the value of hard work and the importance of girls and women supporting each other in their professional and personal goals.