4 The HBCU Advocate Editorial

My African American European Vacation

A five-part series exploring Europe’s influence on African Americans’ past, present and future I did, however, catch a bus to a


hotel near the airport to have lunch and use their Wi-Fi, but it was too slow to download the apps I needed like Google Maps and Uber. Once I realized my efforts were futile, I went back to the airport to rent a car. In my defense, it was a last-minute decision to take this trip and I had just activated the cell phone I was using the day before and did not have time to download these extremely useful apps.

After picking up my daughter from the train station, I was too physically and emotionally drained to

even eat dinner. The next day

Hampton Roads Messenger Publisher Angela and her daughter, Angelica, in front of Buckingham Palace


I traveled to Europe with my Angelica,

recently, and it

was my first time on the continent. My daughter wanted to tour Europe with only a backpack for two weeks and I was brave enough to accept the challenge. I agreed to drop everything and travel with her to abroad because I knew that there lies a great deal of forgotten

African throughout Europe.

American history While there,

we were to visit London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland;

Paris, France;

Rome, Italy; as well as Granada and Marbella, Spain to explore the continent’s influence on African Americans’ past, present and future.

My daughter and I took separate

flights from the United States since she was traveling from Silicon Valley, near San Francisco, California and my flight left from Charlotte, NC. I arrived in London approximately eight

before her WOW Airlines flight and felt somewhat like a mermaid who had magically been given legs. I was not sure what my next move should be.

My daughter is the navigator in

the family. She is a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, who will be attending graduate school at Stanford University in the fall. When she was younger, and we traveled throughout the United States, she always had map duty. She has now perfected her craft as a navigator.

During our European vacation, we

used a Google app to map out driving, walking, train and bus routes and to search for flights between countries. I rented a car in London but having to drive on the “opposite” side of the road, from which I am accustomed, proved quite challenging. London drivers seem to have a need for speed. After clipping a few curbs on the way to the hotel, I was able to white-knuckle my way to the train station to pick up my daughter.

Angelica was able to get details on how to take the train to a stop close to our hotel. Because I did not heed my offspring’s warning to get an international

data package from my

mobile service provider, I was stuck at the airport with no way to connect to digital instructions

or assistance.

The airport Wi-Fi was pretty much state-owned and that option just did not appeal to me.

was a new day and I had my handy dandy navigator, my daughter, by my side as well as the apps I was able to download with the free Wi-Fi at our hotel. The hotel was located in the Victoria district of London.

The Victoria district is

convenient to a train stop, as well as being only a short walk to tourist sites like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and The Banqueting House, Whitehall. Life-size statues of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and nine other 20th-century figures who died for their beliefs fill the 10 niches above Westminster Abbey's main entrance. At The Banqueting House, the only surviving building of Whitehall Palace (a famous home of King Henry VIII), we took an entertaining and interactive walking audio tour. On the Lost Palace Tour, we viewed an area just below Queen Mary’s room while walking around the outside of the building. We also walked to the jousting area and participated in a joust.


The tour offered us an opportunity to join in on historical events by listening to them being reenacted and following instructions to play along. The interactive experience


auditioning for a Shakespeare play and participating in a 16th-century sword fight. I cannot begin to explain how we were able to feel a king’s heartbeat in our hands; that is something that one has to experience firsthand.

The Banqueting House is

important to English architecture because it was the first building completed in neoclassical style. The building,

where construction began

around 1619 and was completed in 1622, is also the location where King Charles I was beheaded 27 years later on a scaffold in front of it.

During the interactive audio

walking tour, I was able to take a photograph outside of Scotland Yard. We also visited the Gardens near Buckingham Palace and posed for a photo with the Horse Guard. We found a quaint Indian restaurant, after leaving the riverfront, where we enjoyed a delicious vegan meal.

Although it is a bustling city, we found London quite easy to navigate using a combination of Uber, public transportation

and walking. From

London, we took a train to Edinburgh, Scotland where the Fringe Festival, the largest and longest running arts festival in the world, was taking place.

When we arrived at the train station in London, my daughter wanted to take a photo at Platform 9 ¾, which

Volume 1 Number 3

is featured in the Harry Potter book series. Against the wall of platform, there stands half a luggage cart filled with items that give the appearance that the other half of the cart has passed through the wall.

Bennett FROM PAGE 1

founded in 1873 and became women’s only in 1926. In the nine decades that Bennett has been one of only two all-women’s HBCUs in the country, she has produced outstanding leaders including the first African-American female surgeon in the south, the first African-American woman to become a district attorney in North Carolina and the current Deputy Minority Leader in the State Legislature.

“I have been thoroughly impressed with the students, staff and faculty of Bennett College since arriving in Greensboro in November 2015,” Dawkins continued. “For years Bennett has been one of the community’s best-kept secrets, but I plan to work in concert with the BOT, faculty, staff, students and alumnae to

ensure the

institution’s visibility is raised. I am very grateful to the

Board for entrusting me with such

an awesome responsibility, and I look forward to working closely with them to ensure we position Bennett College to continue educating young women for generations to come.”

Under Dawkins’ interim

leadership, in June Bennett signed a Memorandum of Understanding with American Language Academy that will help increase the institution’s numbers of international students. In late May, Dawkins traveled with eight students and a staff member to Seoul, South Korea, to establish faculty and student exchange programs. Later this month she and another staff member will travel to South Africa to further enhance Bennett’s International Moreover, the college

Program. has several

MOUs under negotiation, including one involving a global exchange program.

During her time as interim

president, Dawkins was highly engaged with students. Additionally, she has reinvigorated

Bennett’s relationship

with several church denominations. She worked with the Rev. Dr. Daran H. Mitchell, senior pastor of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church and President of The Pulpit Forum of Greensboro, to raise money for the

college. Baccalaureate

Mitchell gave Bennett’s address in May. In

January, Dawkins delivered the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. keynote address at First Baptist Church in Reidsville, North Carolina, before members of the Ministerial Alliance of Reidsville and Vicinity, and in late May she delivered

a Women’s Day address at Shiloh Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Dawkins has also strengthened

the college’s relationship with its founding denomination, The United Methodist the

Church, by hosting Black Methodists for Church

Renewal’s annual Roll Call in April and also attending a retreat of the United Methodist Church’s Western North Carolina Conference at Lake Junaluska in June.

During her time in the Triad, Dawkins has been visible throughout Greensboro and the state speaking to various groups and networking on behalf of Bennett. She has also organized several events designed to increase Bennett’s local visibility while

bringing resources to the

campus. Among groups with whom she has networked or is affiliated are The Greensboro Men’s Club, The Triad Ministerial Alliance, The Greensboro Partnership and


Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. She served on the transition team for Guilford County Schools’ new superintendent and also serves on several regional and national boards.

Dawkins has actively engaged with the institution’s alumnae, attending numerous chapter events and sponsoring Retreats. alumnae

Under her leadership, giving

Alumnae Donor and the


percentage of alumnae gifts are up. In May during commencement

weekend, a $1.5 million scholarship campaign in honor of Dr. Johnnetta Betsch

Bennett officials have begun talks with

Guildford Schools

Cole was announced, County

about opening a school for foster care children on campus, and just this week Dawkins participated in a recruitment event with Church of God in Christ leaders in Charlotte.

diligently president,

“Dr. Dawkins has worked as Bennett’s interim and we anticipate


tenacity only increasing now that she is president of our great institution,” Robinson said. “The other Board members and I look forward to the many ways Bennett will progress under her direction, and we invite the public to support Bennett College financially as we embark upon a new chapter in the institution’s rich history.”

The HBCU Advocate

Angela Jones, Publisher Chris Parks, Editor

Rae Willis, Graphic Designer Ida Davis, Contributing Writer

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August/September 2017

To hear more about our adventures in Europe and the exciting things we saw, did and uncovered in Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Grenada and Marbella, read the next edition of this publication.

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