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Space to GRO: New Organization Supports Black Women at U of C

Black Women in Education

Space to GRO: New Organization Supports Black Women at U of C

By Erica Gunderson  via

In 1921, Georgiana Rose Simpson became America’s first Black woman to graduate with a Ph.D. She earned her doctorate as well as her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in German philology at the University of Chicago. 

Now two U of C students are honoring her trailblazing achievement with the Georgiana Rose Organization social group supporting Black women and feminine-aligned students in academia.

GRO President Marla Anderson says that 100 years later, Simpson’s story resonates with her own and those of her peers.

“We know that she was barred from being able to be on campus because other students, her peers, didn’t want her on campus,” Anderson said. “We know that she faced other struggles. After she graduated from UChicago with her Ph.D, she was unable to find teaching positions because people didn’t think her achievements were enough. And so what I really admired about Dr. Simpson’s story was, one: her resilience; and two: her commitment to investing and reinvesting to her community. I think that’s really…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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