Grand Valley State University Women's Center

Rediscovering Merze Tate: A Treasure in Our Backyard

Date: March 20, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Fair Housing Center of West Michigan 20 Hall Street SE
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Rediscovering Merze Tate: A Treasure in Our Backyard

Celebrate Women's History Month with the Grand Rapids Study Club! OnMarch 20 the GRSC will host a program on Merze Tate, born an African American girl in 1905 near Blanchard in rural Michigan. She graduated first in her class from Western Michigan University in 1927, earned a doctorate from Oxford University, worked for the State Department, and traveled around the world twice. Tate became a Howard University history professor and sometime U.S. diplomat, held patents, spoke five languages, wrote seven political books, and purchased a ticket for a flight into outer space--before leaving a legacy of millions of dollars to educational institutions.    

Merze Tate

Merze Tate (1905 - 1996) 

Merze Tate captured her world through the lens of her camera. Thus, long after her death in 1996, Kalamazoo journalist Sonya Bernard-Hollins will be able to show you Tate's world through her own eyes. The account of this unique African American woman's life will also illustrate the tenacity and courage necessary for her to defy the odds during the Jim Crow and pre-Civil Rights eras. At one point her own State Department labeled Tate "a public relations risk." Hear her story!

Kzoo journalist Sonya Bernard-Hollins will tell Merze Tate's story for Women's History Month. 

Searching for Merze Tate sent Bernard-Hollins on a fascinating journey of her own. Discoveries in the WMU archives have resulted in a traveling photo exhibit, a Kalamazoo youth travel club, and much travel for Bernard-Hollins herself as she spreads the word about this amazing woman whose story should never have been lost in the first place. On March 20, meet Merze Tate with the help of Bernard-Hollins. In the meantime, learn more about both women by visiting the following link: MerzeTate

 Noon, Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fair Housing Center of West Michigan

20 Hall Street SE (just east of Division)

Lunch is provided, and parking is available.

Please let us know you're coming at or


This program is co-sponsored by the  

Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council.