When I saw the message alert come across my phone I knew what it was. I felt a gentle thump in my heart, but proceeded to read: “Hello Sabrina. I’ve been trying to reach you. Please call me when time permits.” I replied, “I am running around for the next few days, but will call you later this week or weekend.” He responded, “Did you know …”

I met Professor Lemoine Pierce as a sophomore or junior at Morris Brown College. My first class with her was rough – to say the least.  She was sharp and with little accompanying humor. She seemingly challenged everything that we knew to be fact. She wanted to know the source of our information. Was it credible? Reliable? Indeed, fact at all? It took some time, but I grew to appreciate her. She was one of my first professors to take me so deeply beyond the textbooks. She intertwined current events with all that we learned in class. She made me a better student, writer and aspiring teacher.

When I asked her to write a recommendation letter to accompany my Peace Corps application and she gave me a quasi-lecture on why she didn’t support in the Peace Corps, followed by sharing videos on the World Bank and World Health Organization, I had to respect her position. In later years, she would continue to send me boxes of lectures, videos, and cassettes by African scholars, writers, intellectuals.

For almost 15 years she has poured in to me so much of what she has learned. She once told me that she didn’t read fiction because she still had so very much to learn about the world! In her sixties, she was still lecturing and taking swimming classes. She was tickled fancy by the opportunity to take free courses at Georgia State. Her daily life inspired me in ways that I will never forget!!!

Today to have learned of her transition via IM on Facebook and to know that this happened several months ago breaks my heart in more ways that I can acknowledge. Simultaneously, I know how intentional she is and was – so I am sure that she had all of this outlined and detailed for whoever was responsible for the arrangements.

As has been the trend for the last year or so, I continue with intentionality. Intentionally committed to doing my life’s work. Intentionally devoted to honoring those who have come before me and inspire me to live to my fullest capability. And on today, I am further inspired to honor Professor Pierce by continuing to mentor and educate those I encounter. She is gone but never forgotten …

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