In a blog post shared on The Huffington Post’s politics page, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, writes about the experiences of alumna Patricia King ’63 as she calls for a more welcoming approach to new perspectives in higher education and other areas of American life.
Edelman shares the experiences of King, who lived with racial segregation and discrimination growing up in Virginia in the 1940s and ’50s and continued to face “micro aggressions” after leaving the South for college in Massachusetts.
“Wheaton paved the way for her later success and was also the place where, she said, ‘I began to understand that real diversity can’t just be cosmetic. Real diversity is about affording all community members the respect and dignity they deserve,’” Eldeman writes.
After graduating from Wheaton, King attended Harvard Law School, serving on both institutions’ governing bodies. She remains a Trustee Emerita at Wheaton. King teaches law, medicine, ethics and public policy at Georgetown University Law School, where she has worked for 40 years, and is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.
In the blog post, Edelman references an address King gave earlier this year at Georgetown, in which King spoke about why she had chosen to hang a Peters Projection Map of the World—known for its more accurate portrayal of the world’s land masses in relation to one another—outside her office. She said she likes the map because it “highlights equality and undermines the projection of dominance.”
“We have all lost because our work and the work of institutions that we are a part of has not accomplished what it might have, because we are working with old outdated maps and perspectives,” King is quoted as saying. “Our educational institutions, our science and medical establishment, and many of the other institutions in our lives that help define the scope of opportunity for millions must engage in a deliberate, intentional, and informed effort to incorporate the perspectives of people like 12-year-old Patricia King into the core of their work.”