Mary Lou Day 2023
Mary Lou Day is the annual celebration of the namesake of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University. From 1977 until her death in 1981, Williams served as Duke‘s first Artist-in-Residence while supporting Duke’s African diaspora students. As an international jazz artist, Williams enjoyed a career that spanned over 50 years, making her one of the most significant female musicians in history. The 2023 Mary Lou Day program featured a short video of Mary Lou Williams history, a live jazz band, delicious food, and remarks from the staff of the Mary Lou Williams Center. More than 100 members of the campus community attended including faculty, staff, current students, and prospective students.
And the Award goes to…
Stephanie Helms Pickett Woman of Strength Award was named after the first Woman of Color Director of the Women’s Center. This award is given to someone who shows strength in their work, community, and education while leading with guidance, grace, and resilience. On March 30th 2023, Samaiyah Faison, Assistant Director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, was recognized as the 2023 Woman of Strength at the WomC Awards ceremony. Prior to joining the Mary Lou Williams Center staff in 2021, Samaiyah worked with the Center for Muslim Life as the Office Coordinator. The epitome of grace and strength, she is known to go above and beyond her duties in support of both students and colleagues. All who know Samaiyah would agree that she is an authentic and resilient professional who consistently advocates for others. Join us in congratulating Ms. Samaiyah Faison on her 2023 Woman of Strength Award!
About the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture
The mission of the Mary Lou Williams Center at Duke University is to foster a safe and affirming community that supports the diverse needs of Black-identified people.
- Black is not a monolith
- That black is broad, deep and diverse
- That our blackness should be celebrated, honored and affirmed
- Blackness is beautiful
- That the legacy of our ancestors should be exalted
- Black people deserve a space to be authentically and unapologetically liberated.