top of page

Walking through history

Tiana Lee '25

Last Friday, Nia McAdoo visited Mercersburg Academy to present her family-owned Homage Exhibit–a mobile Black History museum. The private collection of Nia and Morris McAdoo features over 650 selected items, representing the nation’s history from slavery to the election of Barack Obama. McAdoo explains, “Each artifact represents an icon, cultural phenomenon, or pivotal historical moment and accompanies works created by artists and creatives.” 

Mercersburg’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Office and McAdoo have been working together over the past three years to schedule the Homage Exhibit on campus. For the past two years, the exhibit showed virtually and received great participant feedback, nevertheless. Renata Williams, the director of DEI, initially saw the exhibit as an opportunity to impact the community in the virtual format. Jamar Galbreath, assistant DEI director, said, “To be so close to so many historic artifacts which offer a perspective into the experience of Black History in America makes Black History tangible to the here and now.” 

According to the DEI Office, the first in-person exhibit was a big success. Williams stated, “We were able to share information and invite folks from the Mercersburg community, local school districts, the Racial Reconciliation Committee, and obviously the entire Mercersburg Academy network - including faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni.” Galbreath reflected, “I am grateful for everyone who visited. Thank you! Members of Racial Reconciliation of Franklin County came to visit the exhibit, and I think that opportunities like this help us build bridges between Mercersburg Academy and our connected and neighboring communities.”

Mercersburg students were impressed. Selena Feng ‘24 said, “My favorite part of the exhibit wasn’t an artifact, but the story of how the exhibit formed. This exhibit felt like a bite-sized version in terms of artifacts, but it still had very impactful artifacts that were curated to focus on a more specific narrative.” Ruby Shang ‘24 found the African-American magazines to be her favorite artifacts. She said, “In those magazines, we got to see a different approach toward Civil Rights events and social culture at that time.” Oscar Su ‘25 added, “The Time magazines were interesting because they were such an iconic piece of media. I thought it was fascinating how it’s kind of a representation of America’s views on Black people as a whole.”

With the success of the event, the DEI office continues to be busy programming future learning opportunities. Later this month, the Black Alumni Association will host Mercersburg native and Academy alumnus Chris Frisby ‘95 in a virtual fireside chat about the role of Black soldiers from Mercersburg in the Civil War. “We want to pay special attention to things that expose our community to rich cultures and identities that exist within,” Williams explained. Galbreath added, “We are partnering with Mr. Brown and Student Activities to host a trip to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture on March 24! We are planning something hip in April. We’re keeping it under wraps for now, but stay tuned!” 

While recent advances in DEI programming have been significant, Williams emphasized, “The hope is that we can continue to celebrate all identities in our community, not only during specific months but always.”

bottom of page