Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Congresswoman visits GW

Only 15 students turned out Thursday afternoon for D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s book signing of her biography “Fire in My Soul” at the University Bookstore.

Norton, the Democratic representative for the District, spoke to students about her experiences as a child in the midst of the Civil Rights movement.

Joan Steinau Lester, the author of the book, was also present at the signing to answer students’ questions. She said the small turnout was not a disappointment, but understandable for a 4 p.m. event.

“College students are some of the busiest people in the world,” Lester said. “Even with the small turnout, we’ve stimulated intellectual discussion, which is what I hope my book can create.”

The biography, which was published two weeks ago, is already in its second printing, Lester said.

“We attended several book signings already,” Lester said. “We were in northern California last week and received an audience of over 50 students at Stanford.”

Lester noted that her book has previously been discussed on National Public Radio and will be featured in the March 2003 issue of Essence magazine.

Norton discussed the historical basis of the book with the audience, referring to herself as a child of the Civil Rights movement.

“Look at my life and how I grew up and you will get the idea of how fire gets in your soul,” Norton said.

In addition to discussing the book, Norton spoke about pertinent political issues including the importance of D.C. statehood.

Norton also discussed feminist politics, noting that President George W. Bush is “pecking away” at abortion rights by creating small, nearly unnoticeable regulations.

“The most powerful group of people in the U.S. today are middle class women,” Norton said. “Today’s issues are more complex and women must begin to strategize.”

A small group of freshman girls in attendance approached Norton with questions, noting they hope to create a Living and Learning Community for next year with a focus on feminist politics.

“We would like to explore women’s role in American society,” freshman Mary Skimer said.

The small crowd in attendance generally enjoyed Norton’s short speech, asking questions following the presentation.

“I came today because I’m interested in politics,” freshman Louis Koch said. “I’m glad that I got to meet her in such a small setting.”

While some of the attendees did note the lack of advertising for the event, ads were placed in The Hatchet and Washington Post, bookstore general manager Mike Leddy said.

“I would have liked to have seen some of the university’s departments conduct an outreach effort to get people to attend the event,” said Bernard Demczuk, assistant vice president for D.C. affairs. “I’d also love it if she came here to lecture. She is too valuable to only have a handful of students (attend).”

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet