A Legacy of Service: Black History in Santa Monica

 Carolyn Edwards, President of the Philomatheans explained how the service organization was founded during a discussion hosted by Santa Monica College's Black Collegians at the Humanity and Social Science Building (HSS)Room 165. Pictured bottom right  Chase Matthews  Student Trustee and Black Collegians  ICC Delegate.  Feb. 22, 2018 at Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by: Clyde Bates)

Carolyn Edwards, President of the Philomatheans explained how the service organization was founded during a discussion hosted by Santa Monica College's Black Collegians at the Humanity and Social Science Building (HSS)Room 165. Pictured bottom right  Chase Matthews  Student Trustee and Black Collegians  ICC Delegate.  Feb. 22, 2018 at Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by: Clyde Bates)

In honor of Black History Month, Santa Monica College Associates and SMC's Black Collegians Program sponsored an event in the auditorium of the Humanity and Social Sciences building room 165 at Santa Monica College on Feb. 22, 2018. In attendance were guest speakers Carolyne Edwards and Jo Lynn.

Edwards and Lynn spoke about the legacies they have been a part of creating in Santa Monica, particularly for the African-American community. Lynn spoke on The Philomatheans, while Edwards focused on the Quinn Research Center. “Fasten your seat belts, I would like you to put your trays in an upright position and I would like you to get ready to soar,” said Lynn.

Lynn then lead the audience back on the journey of The Philomatheans. It is an organization of African-American women with the mission to educate and give back to the community, which operates out of Santa Monica as well.

Philomatheans derives from the Greek word philomath, which means “Lover of Learning." The Philomatheans started as an organization of 52 women who met at a church. Starting with just two dollars a day in donations, the organization continued to raise money and grow until they were able to buy property that is still owned by the organization today in Santa Monica. The organization members use the money earned from their real estate to continue their mission of education and service. Lynn left the audience by telling them to never stop learning, and to continue their legacy by serving others in our community anyway we can.

Edwards spoke on The Quinn Research Center, named after her uncle, Dr. Alfred T. Quinn, the first African-American professor at SMC.

Edwards and her husband Bill Edwards started the Quinn Research Center, following Dr. Quinn's legacy of collecting books and artwork. Edwards expressed how important art is as a historical marker of moments in history, and how crucial it is that it be preserved for future generations.

The Quinn Research Center hosted an internship for SMC students to help with this preservation, digitally archiving the books, pictures, and art.

When asked how the audience may go out and create their own legacy, Edwards said, “You started just today by coming and trying to find out something about... our community…. When you have a chance, you pass on the information you have learned to others. It starts catching a hold and after a while, everybody is starting to talk about it."