Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Delores Sevena Williams: Portrait Blessing & Library Event


The Union Theological Seminary Class of 2019 raised funds to commission a new portrait of Dr. Delores Williams, which was finally completed and hung in the seminary this week, an occasion which we marked with great celebration on October 18th. Dr. Williams earned her PhD at Union in 1991, and her influential book Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk was a trailblazing work of womanist theology.


Betty Bolden, a Black woman with glasses and short hair, stands next to a portrait of Dr. Delores Williams, a Black woman in a red robe
Many of the day’s festivities were catalyzed and planned by retiree and friend of the Burke Library Betty Bolden, who worked here for nearly fifty years, and who knew Dr. Williams personally


On the day of the celebration, the Union community blessed the portrait at its unveiling in the Chapel, and followed this with a full day of events, which included an archival pop-up exhibit at the Burke Library. Friends and former students along with faculty and staff came to browse and share in the archives and objects that preserve the community’s memory and reverence for Dr. Williams — the exhibit included photographs, archival documents such as syllabi, poems, and manuscripts, and even digital media such as recordings of Prof. Williams speaking at events.


adults stand around a wooden table lined with papers, some of the people are holding papers and others stand talking to one another
The pop-up exhibit both showcased materials at the Burke Library and invited guests to socialize, reminisce, and celebrate Dr. Williams’s legacy


The exhibit also served as a chance for attendees — especially alums, who rarely get the chance to see each other and reminisce about old times — to socialize. We were glad to discuss the day’s events, and the documents and photos on display, with such enthusiasm for the past and for Dr. Williams’s legacy. -CB





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