“You splashed my face with Nile water. Daughter of Diaspora You named me, claimed me.” Jill Scott

Vivian Gordon and Julian Bond

Today’s principle of Nia (Purpose) provides us with the opportunity to reflect on how we can best restore  traditional greatness by building & developing community, together. As we prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 2015, let us always remember those ancestors who left us with vitally important lessons and roadmaps. Few people moved with a greater sense of purpose and a deep, unwavering love for young people of African descent than Vivian Verdell Gordon. From the 1970s to the early 1980s, Gordon left an indelible impact on those students at the University of Virginia who were fortunate to  call her teacher.  Frequently when I think about her legacy, I am reminded of the following words from Benjamin Brawley’s 1926 article, “The Profession of the Teacher”:

“To Take our boys and girls, our young men and women and to lead them into the knowledge of truth; to acquaint them with the master-minds of the ages; to help them to be clean of heart and pure of spirit; to teach them to have self-respect without arrogance and chivalry without pride; to help them to have faith even if they see wrong all around them. This is no mere business, no simple matter of office routine. It is the highest task that God can give a mortal.”

We are better because Gordon–a master teacher–saw teaching not just as a career but also a divinely ordained vocation.

Vivian Gordon, 1984