McDonogh Voices - About - McDonogh School

McDonogh Voices

Understanding and learning from McDonogh School’s complex history is an important part of our ongoing institution-wide work to ensure our school is a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community—one where everyone has a true sense of belonging. McDonogh Voices: One School. Many Perspectives—a multi-year series of learning and discussion opportunities designed to give stories about our past a greater voice in McDonogh’s present and future—is integral to this work. 

The series is being developed by a group of McDonogh alumni historians and scholars working in partnership with administrators, staff, and trustees. During the inaugural year, McDonogh Voices will focus on our understanding of history.

Please join us for these community conversations and arts events! 


Session I: History and the Inclusion of New Voices

Thursday, November 18, 2021 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Klein Lyceum, Edward St. John Student Center

Nadine Knight ’95, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at College of the Holy Cross; Jessica Levy ’04, Assistant Professor of History at Purchase College, SUNY; and Upper School history teacher John Wood will provide an overview of how history is understood and communicated and how various institutions and their disciplines have evolved in their understanding of the stories they tell about people who have been overlooked or deliberately erased. 

Register now or view the event via Livestream. Attendance will be limited; please register only if you plan to attend in person.


Gallery Exhibit Featuring Artist Akea Brionne

Monday, November 15 through Wednesday, December 15 | Weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tuttle Art Gallery, Edward St. John Student Center

Artist Akea Brionne is a photographer, writer, curator, and researcher whose personal work investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America.  A collection of Akea’s photographs will be on display in the Tuttle Gallery through December 15.


Session II: New Understandings of American Slavery and John McDonogh

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Klein Lyceum, Edward St. John Student Center

Marc Blum ’60, former Chair of the McDonogh Board of Trustees, author of John McDonogh, The Founding of McDonogh School, and the Early Leaders, published in honor of the school's 125th anniversary; Louis Hyman '95, the Maurice & Hinda Neufeld Founders Professor in Industry and Labor and the Director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University; Upper School history teacher Ane Lintvedt; and researcher and historian Jennie Williams, PhD. will discuss slavery and the slave trade in the United States, Baltimore, and New Orleans as well as John McDonogh's connection with it.


Session III: The Memorial to Those Enslaved and Freed

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Klein Lyceum, Edward St. John Student Center

Planning for a memorial to recognize and honor the enslaved peoples of John McDonogh has been in the works for nearly two decades. The journey began with the work of a passionate group of current and retired faculty, staff—including retired Art Department Chair Oletha DeVane—and Board members who brought light to the importance of doing justice to the memory of people whose labor contributed to the wealth that was the basis of our School’s founding. The memorial will pay homage to the enslaved people and be used as a foundation for educating students more fully about this period in history. During this session, lead artist Oletha DeVane and artistic historical consultants Dr. Lowery Sims and Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, will discuss the evolution and meaning behind The Memorial to Those Enslaved and Freed.  


Dance Performance by Nile Russell ’00

Friday, April 29, 2022
Childs Memorial Terrace followed by a reception with the performers at Tagart Memorial Chapel

Using historical research as inspiration, Nile Russell ’00 and his collaborators, Naan Badu '00 and Jen Ford '00, will compose a dance piece that explores several complementary concepts and themes. His work will highlight the dichotomy and complexity of McDonogh (the person and the School), the importance of creating greatness in difficult times, and a forward vision of the McDonogh community’s future. Nile will serve in residency at McDonogh for two weeks in order to teach and incorporate the talents of McDonogh’s theatre, dance, and gospel choir students in this performance.