Skip McDonald’s heart swelled with anticipation as she drove onto the campus of Valdosta State in Georgia. She was thrilled that her 88-year-old Auntie Florrie was sharing in this special celebration, “An Evening with the Queen.” Skip was being honored as the first Black homecoming queen at VSU – 38 years ago! She took out her recently polished old crown and put it on her head, remembering when she was first crowned queen as a 17-year-old sophomore at VSU.
Greeting them were the students who had planned much of the event, Kelli Williams, Ebone’ Janay and others from the Black Student League. Skip was delighted to meet the third Black homecoming queen, Avraye Henry, crowned in 2010.
The evening’s program was well-planned and a deep honor for Skip. A special video tribute on Skip’s life was created by the students. Ebone’ wrote a special poem for Skip. Then Skip was asked to share her thoughts on “Looking Back and Looking Forward.” She talked about what it was like to be the first Black homecoming queen at VSU and admitted to feeling devalued when she had to ride in a small cart pulled by a pony in the homecoming parade.
But the biggest slight came when she was not recognized during the homecoming basketball game. Read what happened when “Skip McDonald Calls a Time-out.”
Skip also talked about her involvement with the Black Student League during that time and its purpose, as well as how students can work together in unity within the League now.
At the end of the evening, Skip was given a bouquet of flowers and a new crown to a standing ovation. She was presented with a plaque by Dr. Calvin Walker from the African American Studies Department at VSU.
One student, Courtney, told Skip, “Your story, like many other African American women, has inspired me to continue on my journey and to try my hardest at everything no matter what the odds are.”
Full of gratitude to God, Skip returned home and placed her gifts on the table near a new cross she’d just bought. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said, “Place your crown at the bottom of the cross.” Skip was thrilled to place her earthly crown at the feet of Jesus, knowing it’s all about him!
See how a local TV news stations reported on the event in “VSU Honors It’s First African-American Homecoming Queen.”
Read more about Skip McDonald on her blog.