WEST CHESTER (November 15, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman was joined by Lincoln University and Toni Morrison society officials and others to honor the university’s legacy of advocacy through the Toni Morrison Society’s “Bench by the Road” program.
“Since its creation, Lincoln University has always been at the forefront of American history and progress,” Dinniman, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “As the first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, I see no institution more deserving of this honor.”
The Bench by the Road program was started in honor of Toni Morrison’s work and provides historical markers that help remember the lives of African-Americans and Africans worldwide. The memorial history and community outreach initiative draws its name from comments Morrison made in a 1989 interview about the lack of monuments recognizing the achievements of Africans and African-Americans.
“There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves … There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road,” Toni Morrison said in an interview with World Magazine. “And because such a place doesn’t exist, [my book] had to.”
This is the 26th bench given by the Toni Morrison Society to commemorate locations around the world which have strong ties in African and African-American history, and the 2nd bench to be given in the Lincoln University area – the first dedicated at the Hosanna African Union Methodist Protestant (A.U.M.P.) Church in 2015.
Dr. Brenda Allen, President of Lincoln University, spoke on the history and importance of the Bench by the Road, before thanking Dinniman for his service to the community.
“He always makes sure to explain the power of a liberal arts education to others. I thank him for his advocacy and his continued support,” Allen said.
The bench will be placed in front of Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall, the oldest building on campus, constructed in 1865 during the Civil War. Dr. Azikiwe, class of 1930, became the first president of Nigeria, and Dr. Nkrumah, class of 1939, became the first president of Ghana.