Authors Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby Speak in Sheehy Theater
On Friday, February 24, Gonzaga was honored to host special guest speakers Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby as part of our Black History Month celebration and programming. The coauthors of a book called Cousins
, Betty and Phoebe shared their remarkable story of reconciliation and healing from their family's legacy of slavery.
A Black woman, Dr. Betty Kilby Fisher Baldwin grew up in rural Virginia. She graduated from Warren County High School after suing the school board, based on the Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954. She then worked in a factory, where she climbed the corporate ladder to executive management. After she retired, she wrote and published an autobiography called Wit, Will & Walls.
Phoebe Kilby grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of a physician. Phoebe, a White woman, worked as an urban and environmental planner before studying at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. A descendant of enslavers, Phoebe was inspired by a movement called Coming to the Table, which seeks to heal the wounds of racism that have grown out of the American legacy of slavery.
In their talk in Sheehy Theater, the two women told the story of how they discovered they were related through slavery and eventually became friends and began a path towards reconciliation. After their talk, students had the chance to ask questions.
Thank you to Mr. Devon Leary '06, Gonzaga's Directory of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, along with Gonzaga's Student Diversity Leadership Community, for organizing this event -- as well as other opportunities throughout the month of February to celebrate black history and culture.