Activist Bernice Johnson Reagon inspires with stories and songs

Kevin Allen

Bernice Johnson Reagon, an activist for civil and women’s rights, spoke and sang in Van Meter Hall auditorium Wednesday night in an inspirational presentation about her life and accomplishments.

Reagon began the night with the song “Would You Harbor Me,” which addressed the issue of people in society dealing with those who are different from themselves.

“I know if we rise to the challenge, we have to be so much better at being in spaces with people who are not the same as we are,” Reagon said.

Reagon also talked about her experiences at Albany State University in Georgia during the 1960s, including organizing protests and getting involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, of which she was skeptical at first.

“Who was going to follow an organization with a name like ‘Snick’ [SNCC]?” Reagon asked.

Several times in her presentation, she encouraged the audience to sing along with her and get involved with the presentation itself.

“This is not a solo,” Reagon said.

Students who attended the presentation said they found it inspiring, including Emily Dickey, a freshman from Indian Head, Md.

“She was telling us a story of herself when she was in college where she had set up her own sting operation,” said Dickey. “…That alone was inspirational. I even wrote a poem about it.”

Albany freshman Charlie Mornson agreed that Reagon was inspiring.

“The one where the guy propositioned her was the best,” Mornson said. “Where she was in that situation and doing what she did, that takes a lot.”

The event ended with a question and answer session followed by a book signing.

Check Friday’s Herald for more on this story.