Advice Independent Living

Celebrating Black History Month: Dr. Judith Hamer’s Remarkable Journey

Resident Dr. Judy Hamer

This Black History Month, we are privileged to share the inspiring story of Meadow Ridge’s very own resident Dr. Judith Hamer. Dr. Hamer, a retired university professor, and her late husband, Martin, have made significant contributions to the narrative of Black American literature with their anthology, Centers of the Self: Stories by Black American Women, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present.

Dedicated to Amplifying Marginalized Voices

For over three decades, Dr. Hamer has been a beacon of advocacy and empowerment for Black Americans, particularly women. Her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices extends beyond academia; she actively engages in community dialogue as the lead judge for the TEAM Westport Teen Diversity Essay Contest, fostering discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion among the youth of Fairfield County.

Cherished Heirlooms on Display in Washington, D.C. Museum

Dr. Hamer’s commitment to preserving her family’s heritage is evident in her philanthropic efforts, including the donation of cherished heirlooms to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Among these treasures is a poignant photograph of her daughters standing before an 1870s portrait of their great-great-great grandparents, who were born into slavery.

A Celebration of Love and Legacy

This year holds special significance for Dr. Hamer and her family as they commemorate the 100th anniversary of her father, Frank Thompson’s historic graduation from Cornell University. Cornell, one of the first American universities to welcome black students, where Dr. Hamer also attended and earned a degree in English Literature. She went on to receive a Masters in Teaching, English and Education from Smith College and a PhD in Education from Columbia University. Dr. Hamer is also passionately documenting her second marriage to documentarian Bill Buckley, highlighting the enduring power of love and joy at any stage of life.

One Among Many Black Women

Despite her remarkable achievements, Dr. Hamer humbly emphasizes that her story is just one among many in the rich tapestry of Black American history. “I am just one Black woman,” she reflects, “which shows the depth of who we are in this country that doesn’t get recognized.”

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