Chair’s Update, October 15, 2021

Additional Discussion Comment:

Richard shared the following updates for the History Book:

BRICKS, A Play in Two Acts by Elizabeth Webster Watson: Story of Slave Joe

Correspondence between Dr. David Gilbert regarding Billy Strayhorn’s Music
Side Bars and Correction: Our Story, This Place, SONG: p2

Time-Line For Education in Madison County Area
African and Native American Ethnic Heritage at Mars Hill University
Mixed Early Ethnic Heritage History of MHU
African-American History Time Line, the Long Ridge Colored Community


This may have been given at another meeting, as I did not put a date on my copy.

Review Program:

Heart and Soul, The Culture of African American Music
Thursday, February 19, ?? As a program to be repeated during February 2022

Friday, November 19, 2021, 10:00-11:30 AM: MHARS Friends’ Orientation

All other updates will be sent via email at a later date.

Addressing Fatimah’s Concern

In an email sent to me from Fatimah’ on December 11, 2019, Fatimah’ shared with me her choosing to “throw my name into the hat or pot” specifically for the position at our school of ‘program director’ or director.

Later, Fatimah’ contacted me and said she would like to talk with me, but she wanted to be able to see my face when we talked. This was during David’s illness, so we met via Zoom, hosted by Fatimah and I am not sure of the date. Fatimah’ elaborated on her email and as I remember, I asked Fatimah’ to put this proposal in writing so it could be presented to the Friends for discussion. At this time Fatimah’ quoted an expected salary of $150.00 per month. Prior to the next meeting, I asked Fatimah’ if she wanted to present her proposal to the Friends and she indicated no.

On January 16, 2020, I got an email from Fatimah’ letting me know she had informed Dr. Hoffman of positions and “Being aware that things are happening rapidly Willa. It felt important for me to at least let you know of my choices all while seeking support via feedback etc.” Following this email, I did not hear anything else regarding Fatimah’s correspondence with Dr. Hoffman.

On June 16, 2021, as the Friends were getting ready to adjourn the meeting, Fatimah’ said she had a proposal to present to the Friends. The draft proposal was for a Dedicated Event Specialist Position for which she would write the job description and present to the BOE. Upon approval by the BOE, Fatimah’ would write a grant to support her salary for the position. Fatimah’ requested that the Friends go with her to the BOE.

There was discussion among members present, but no motion was made to move on Fatimah’s proposal. I did share with the group that being a former school administrator, I felt it would be professionally unacceptable to present this proposal to the BOE without them or the Superintendent having prior knowledge.

On September 17, 2021, after the Friends’ meeting was over, I got this message from Fatimah’. “Due to connections, difficult to hear all and to be clear, tell me exactly what you need for me to write up.” As Fatimah’ shared with you in the October 2, 2021 email, my response was, “In order for all you said to get noted correctly, it will be helpful for you to put all you said in writing. I could not take notes fast enough and I know you want your words shared as said. When I get your response I will share with those in attendance today.”

Fatimah’s response was “Thank you, I will work on it through the weekend.” I got no written response as requested.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, I began to get correspondence from Friends asking me about Fatimah’s Zoom meeting and I responded, “ I had no idea, since I had not received the request and invitation”. Once the conversation began among Friends, I had David check his email and he had received the email.

After a change in our schedule, I was able to attend Fatimah’s Zoom meeting on Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 2:30-3:45pm, with Sandy McCall and Maia Surdam.

At 3:57 pm on Saturday, October 2, 2021, I received an email from Fatimah’ sharing her clarifications.


Dan, you are absolutely accurate, “Bylaws or not – you just can’t have a meeting of an organization without the chairperson’s knowledge.” Un-intentionally, somehow, two of our FRIENDS members, incl. our chairperson, were either left off the list or they just did not receive the original email. My bad on that, I had everyone’s name listed, and I have made a note to acknowledge that.

So all are aware, there may be a current belief that I may be seeking Willa’s position. That is the furthest choice for me. The position for me is too confining at this point and time, and in the future.

At some point, I believe at our July meeting, a conversation ensued regarding my choosing a position with Madison County Board of Ed, as Event Specialist or something of that nature. If this was an idea, it is no longer valid.

Willa Wyatt, Chair, Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School