Skip to content

Dr. Sharon Elise: “A Way Out of No Way: Black Women Making Change Then and Now” Lecture at SDSU Thursday March 16th, 2017

April 10, 2017

Dr. Charles Toombs SDSU Africana Studies Dept. Chair, Delores Fisher blogger, lecturer, Dr. Sharon Elise, CSU San Marcos Sociology Dept. Chair

Hello to all my readers in the US and a special thank you/hello to readers in Norway, Italy, France, Iceland, Bermuda, Spain, and Mexico.

DR. Sharon Elise

It’s always a pleasure to listen to Dr. Sharon Elise Lecture. She is  the current Department Chair of Sociology for CSU San Marcos. Her lecture style draws you into an ongoing conversation. Her topic was one of several presented by the San Diego State Africana Studies Department’s Africana Women Lecture Series founded by award-winning professor and community participant Dr. Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers. This was the keynote speech of the week.

It’s sometimes not easy to think about racial narratives and ways in which they have hindered people’s lives. Stereotypes often create more barriers than access roads to achievement. Dr Elise reminded us that truth about people and lived experiences are multi -layered and never as simplistic as most general history books would like us to believe. After doing “the research” and engaging content with emotion as well as mind, kernels of lived experience begin to nourish. Stories of Black women and the cost of resilience in times of challenge, crisis, danger, devastation serve not only as cautionary/instructive narratives, but also exemplars of positive being. Much needed in today’s world in which accept 15 second sound bites as all that there is to a person’s or topics’ truth.

Dr. Sharon Elise discussing Zora Neal Hurston

Truth is an interesting topic today. With all sorts of terms connected to the concept of reporting, journalism and the word “News.” Dr. Elise encouraged the audience to shine a light into those dark historical corners and illuminate African American women’s lives that have been swept into obscurity. As we inquire into where we’ve come from, today’s young scholars will discover a truth often spoken by elders, “Know where you been so that you can seem more clearly where it is you want to go. Students and faculty were encouraged to remember that as scholars looking for societal or community “change” in Black women’s  lived experiences with reality in order to compare past to present, and present to future one needs  to develop good research skills, creativity, vision, persistence, and patience.

Dr. Sharon Elise, faculty members,  and students after the lecture

I first met Dr. Elise as a poet on the San Diego poetry scene. We shared coffeehouse several stages and many long conversations.

After conversations about family, life, and mates, husbands, I began to appreciate my mother’s love for my father at a time when the world little cared about or respected Black family ties, love and marital commitment. She is referenced in one of my poems about Berry White the singer whose dulcet tones sweetened the hearts of many Black men and women towards each other. Fun songs to sing and listen to–songs that drew me and my mom and siblings together. 

Dr. Sharon Elise and Delores Fisher

Dr. Elise’s gracious conversation, keen analytical eye, and genuine care for scholarly discourse was evident then as it still is now.



Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: