Arts & Culture

Celebrating Black Artists: M. Anita Gay Hawthorne (1953-1998)

Anita Gay Hawthorne was the Director of the Pan-Afrikan Center from 1988 until her untimely death in January 1998. Originally known as the Black Student Affairs Office, Miss Anita Gay Hawthorne was responsible for transforming the support service into one with a Pan-Afrikan focus, a program unique to any college in the country. (Pan-Afrikanism: the idea that people of African descent are all connected, share similar interests, and thus should be unified in the form of a nation.) Miss Anita was a staple for Black life here at Augsburg, evidenced by the fact that students called her “Mom.” Miss Anita also had a deep love for poetry. Some of her writings explore Black women’s love and coaxing African American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. down from heaven. It’s Black History Month. To celebrate Miss Anita, two of her poems, which were gathered from her poetry collection Ain’t That Loving Me: Love Poems and published in the 1998 edition of Augsburg’s Murphy Square, are reproduced below. We love you, Miss Anita!


Girl Who You Writing Them Love Poems For


Girl — Who you writing them love poems for 

I don’t see no men knocking down your door?


How you know all them pretty words to say?

They tell the message just A-okay.


Girl — who reads these words you write

Surely when they do, don’t they want to spend the night?


Yeah, you got a way of talking about love

It must be a gift from above.


I Gave/ You Said


I gave you some sassy lovin’

You said that would be all you need.