reensbofo, N. c.
Greensboro, H. Gm /
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1975
BENNETT COLLEGE, GREENSBORO, N. C.
VOL. XXXVIII, NO. 5
Women in the Fine Arts
Dr. Esther Perry and Miss Shirley Smedley Say, "It Was Beautiful Coming Back To Bennett"
by Robyn-Denise Merryhill
and Rose Marie Hudson
“Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most; when they
done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learn
ing—because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe
in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so. When you start measuring some
body, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken
in account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.”
So spoke Mama in Lorraine Hansberry’s drama about black family life, “A
Raisin in the Sun.” This passage from the play along with other passages from
prose by Sojourner Truth, Margaret Walker, and James Baldwin, to name a few>
were the climax of a unique week-long workshop entitled “Women in the Arts” di
rected by two Bennett graduates, Shirley Smedley, ’66, and Dr. Esther Alexander
The workshop was the brain child of Dr. Fred Eady who said, “It fulfilled its
purpose—to enhance the interest in drama. It gave young ladies' a chance to meet
other women in drama. That was the intention—to make students aware of theatre
arts and the roles women play.”
Ms. Smedley graduated from Bennett with a major in psychology and a minor
in drama. She is employed by the New York Telephone Company as an engineer.
She is co-owner of the Ebony Arts Community Theatre of Brooklyn and a member
of the National Council of Negro Women. One of the productions performed by
the Ebony Arts Community Theatre, “The Dreamers,” was made into a motion pic
ture produced by Walter Reade Productions. It won the Philadelphia Drama Critics
Dr. Perry received her B.A. in English from Bennett and furthered her studies
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her M.A.
In 1970 she received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in
a double major, English and drama.
Her love of the theatre stems from childhood and she started out from Bennett
to be a “good teacher and a very good actress.” Now she wants to be a good black,
woman actress and teacher.”
Dr. Perry is the founder and director of the Black Repertory Theatre at the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is listed in “Who’s Who of American
Women” (1973) and in the “Dictionary of International Biography” for 1975.
Ironically, Dr. Perry and Ms. Smedley did not meet until the workshop here at
Bennett. They both agreed that it was one of the most rewarding experiences they
had ever had.
The attitude of the students in the workshop was one of enthusiasm and awe.
Etta Cox, a sophomore from Miami, reflected, “The things I’ve learned from Esther
and Shirley in a day are more than I’ve learned from some of my teachers at Ben
nett. They have really given me encouragement, incenative, and the desire to go on
with the best I have got.”
Flying in for the performance Friday night were another Bennett_ graduate,
Ms. Roslyn Smith Shepherd of the Bronx, N. Y., and Ms. Melaine Kasiwrin, a friend
of Dr. Perry’s who has worked with her for several years. Both were impressed by
the performance and by the fact that it was put together in such a short period of
The workshop focussed on drama but the highlight of the performance Friday
was the unity of the performers and the audience when they clapped their hands
and gave a rendition of “Lean on Me.”
Following the performance there was a reception in the coffeehouse^ hosted by
the pledges of the Goodfoot Sistership Inc. Eva Burrows and Bonnie Snipes, along
with other members of the sistership, sang “Lord Keep Me Day by Day.”
When asked how they felt about the outcome of the workshop, Shirley and
Esther agreed, “It was beautiful coming back to Bennett.”
Will Noise Ever Cease? Is There Really A Need?
A third meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Residence Hall Noise ended with
the six members present deciding that they should meet once more to draw up a
proposal to be presented to the faculty to remedy the problem of noise.
The committee is chaired by Katie Gailes and composed of more than 20 facul
ty, staff and students, with the student membership being in the majority since
dorm noise is primarily a student problem. Those present for this meeting were:
Mrs. Alma Adams, Mrs. Willie McCallum, Ms. Duane Hoffler, Vanessa Richmond,
Cheryl E. Johnson and Debbie Moser.
The two previous meetings “yielded nothing,” according to Johnson, who added,
“It is apparent that we students can’t be responsible for handling the duties of a
committee of this nature. Perhaps we are too close to the problem. All I know is
that there are noise problems in a majority of the dormitories if not all. However,
when we go to these dorms and ask members of the residence hall what can be done
about the noises they say that they didn’t know there was a problem.”
On November 20th ien members of the Bennett College Women's Athletic Assoc
iation attended a three day Women's Day Association Sports Day Meet at Norfolk
State College in Norfolk, Virginia. Persons attending were Sharon Brooks, Sheryl
Brooks, Lucinda Brunson, Fran Franklin, Renee Jessup, Olivia Michael, Debbie Moser.
Anita Taylor, Mickie Winston, and W. A. A. president Etta Cox.
Winning first place awards were Fran Franklin and Anita Taylor; winning second
place awards were Olivia Michael, Lucinda Brunson and Debbie Moser.
photo by Cheryl E. Johnson
This Year’s “Living Madonnas”
Travel to Many Foreign Lands
by Sheila Stewart
Bennett College will present it’s
annual “Living Madonnas” Christ
mas program Dec. 5.
“I think it is one of the most
original Madonnas that we have
done,” said Mrs. Alma Adams, as
sistant professor at Bennett. “By
original I mean that we are de
picting scenes never done before in
These scenes convey the theme
“Madonnas: Constancy and
Change,” a take-off on the con
stant tradition of Christmas and
the changes that have occurred in
the “Madonnas” over the years.
Each scene is a display of
Christmas in various countries
during a certain period of time.
The Renaissance era will be used
as the first scene since it is the
age of rebirth. The next scene is
the nativity based on the culture
of the American Indian.
Works from well-known artists
will be used in the third and fourth
scenes, a Tahitian interpretation
taken from a painting by Paul
Gauguin and a Spanish sacred
family scene based on a work by
Luis de Morales.
Original interpretations will be
used in the settings of a Japanese
magi scene and a scene from In
dia. The Journey into Egypt aspect
will also be depicted with an Es
An African madonna and child
compose the finale. The cos
tumes used in this scene will be
authentic African garments.
Other examples of originality
used in this year’s ‘Madonnas’ will
be music appropriate to each scene
and the addition of different lan
guages to portions of the narra
The two students, Michelle Cros
by and Michele Grandison, were
responsible for the development
of the scenes and costumes, while
numerous other students helped in
the painting of the settings and
the construction of the costumes.
Some question has arisen as to
why the cultures of different
countries are being used as the
theme for the “Madonnas.” Mrs.
Adams comments, “Some people
may think its out of context but
we’re still telling the Christmas
After 37 Years, as
by Cheryl E. Johnson
Mr. William Trent, who is prob
ably the only person in Bennett
history to coach a perfect season
of basketball victories, has re
turned to the campus as consult
ant in residence to the president
after 37 years of absence.
Mr. Trent’s first affiliation with
the college was from 1934-38. Dur
ing this time he said he was pri
marily a faculty member although
he “taught economics, current
events, a course in mathematics,
did the accounting for the business
office, handled college publicity,
ran the bookstore and coached the
basketball team.” About all this
jumping from department to de
partment and office to office he
explained jokingly, “I’m just a
glutton for punishment,”
Before coming to work at Ben
nett for the first time, he worked
at Livingstone College in Salis
bury where he coached the girl’s
basketball team and wore the same
variety of hats.
He left Bennett in 1938 to as
sume the position of executive di
rector of the United Negro College
Fund. He worked for UNCF in this
capacity for 20 years. For the past
11 years he has worked in per
sonnel management at Time, Inc.
He is also a board member of the
College Placement Service and
was treasurer for the National
Urban League for two years.
The four years he coached at
Bennett he said, “We just had a
great team. After the first year
(Continued on page 4)
Coach Comes Back
New Assistant to
in which the team was undefeated,
girls wanted to come to Bennett
to play ball.” He said his relation
ship with the team “was a great
one. I never had trouble getting
less than everything out of them
and we really just beat the op
ponents brains out.” The only
preparation he had for coaching
the Bennett team was the two
years he coached at Livingstone
prior to coming to Bennett. How-
ever, he did play college basket
ball while at Livingstone as a stu
He described these beginning
weeks of his re-acquaintance with
Bennett as “getting his feet wet,”
while in the process of “working
on chores the president wants me
to assist in and meeting faculty
Mr. Trent said he would “not
(Continued on page 3
Trent wants to be port of upsurge in enrollment
photo by Cheryl E. Johnson