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Kathryn Morgan

"One of the first things I tell my students,” Kathryn Morgan once said, "is to go home, look to your families, to the stories we were told as children. They’re the most important stories in the world."

Morgan, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Professor Emerita of History and one of the College community's most dynamic and revered members, died on Sun., Nov. 28, 2010. Here, in an excerpt from the 1979 film The Storytellers, she shares some of the stories that she later documented in her seminal work, Children of Strangers: The Stories of a Black Family, the first work of African American family folklore by a folklorist.

Although Morgan, the first African American professor hired at Swarthmore and the first Black woman to receive tenure, retired in 1995, her steady influence and radiant presence endure. She attended the inaugural Kathryn Morgan Spring Poetry Festival during which students, alumni, faculty, and staff members gathered to read selected poems from her collection, Envisions. An award in her name, of which she was the first recipient, honors community members for their contributions to the lives of African Americans at the College. In addition, a scholarship named for her supports students with an interest in Black Studies.

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