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Johnnie Hunter Foxworth, C'43

Johnnie Hunter Foxworth, C'43

Johnnie Hunter Foxworth's trek from Bridgeport, Ct., to the Atlanta of the 1940s was, indeed, a tale of two cities. Not only did her pursuit of a college education south of the Mason-Dixon line present a journey of great distance, it was also a life-transforming adventure that would take her far a field from the familiar regional, cultural, social and political mores with which she had grown up.

On the advice a Morris Brown College alumna, the secretary at her local YWCA, Mrs. Foxworth enrolled at Spelman. Never having had a Black teacher, or more than two or three Black classmates at one time, her Spelman College experience opened her eyes to the existence of a critical mass of Black intelligentsia—a wealth of talented writers, scholars, researchers and students of color. She also had not experienced the sting of legally imposed segregation. While at Spelman, however, she learned, first-hand, what it felt like to sit at the back of the bus and gained exposure to some of the other indignities of Jim Crow—valuable life-lessons that contributed to her developing a social consciousness steeped in personal experience.

Today, as a buoyant 87 year-old, Mrs. Foxworth can recount these memories with a remarkable precision. A home economics major at Spelman, she went on to earn certification in business management at the University of Bridgeport. Yet she gives most, if not all, of the credit for her professional accomplishments to Spelman. Her heartfelt testimony of how her Spelman experience shaped her life makes it easy to understand how and why she was moved to contribute to the College a charitable gift annuity.

"I learned a lot at Spelman. It was Spelman that laid the foundation for the enormous success I had in my career," says Mrs. Foxworth, who at the pinnacle of her career served as the first woman and first African American director of a governmental agency in her home state of Connecticut—the Department of Motor Vehicles—where she had administrative oversight of the state's 23 branch offices.

"As the first in my family to attend college, there is no way I would have reached the heights I reached in my life without the lessons I learned at Spelman. And now, I have nieces who have followed in my footsteps. Kristal Michelle Hunter, C'95, has earned an M.B.A. at Rutgers and Princess Victoria Wiggins, C'2000, is now a practicing attorney in Hartford," she adds proudly. "There is no way I could not give back," she exclaims. "Spelman is where this all started."