Religion teacher Ms. Angela Davis is not connected to religion. She has always had questions about religion and when she went to college at Northeastern University, she was allowed to venture to different people and libraries to seek answers.
Ms. Davis, who ironically went to Catholic school all her life, never felt a connection to religions, and she has tried all forms. From Christianity, to Judaism, to Islam, she had always wondered if she was the only person who wanted to know who and what God really stood for.
“I am not a part of a religion because I don’t want to be limited. I don’t want to be boxed in,” Ms. Davis said.
Ms. Davis is more drawn to a traditional African centered religion. She considers herself a spiritualist and feels connected to the practice of Yoruba especially. Yoruba allowed Ms. Davis to make sense of religion, to understand it.
“What spoke to me was traditional African spiritual systems. I was like, ‘Yes I understand this,’” Ms. Davis said.
Yoruba is a religion based in Nigeria. It centers around the god Olodumare and believes all beings possess a divine fate and will eventually become one with god Olodumare.
Aside from her love of religion, Ms. Davis’s love for teaching was an underutilized talent she discovered when she took a Black Studies course in college. She was originally studying to be an architect, until her teacher, Dr. Nancy Dawson, convinced her otherwise.
“I just admired her confidence. She had a dynamic personality and I loved her deep interest and ability to relate to the culture,” Ms. Davis said.
From then on, African American history not only became a subject she would teach, but when she researched it, she found answers to the question for which she desperately needed answers: religion.
As a result, Ms. Davis became a member of the Kemetic Institute, an organization dedicated to the history and culture of Kemet (ancient Egypt). She said it “enhances” what she does in the classroom, and the African scholars at the institute influenced her to make a trip back to the classroom herself. She went back to school, Northeastern University, and began to take additional courses just for the knowledge.
Her courses at the Kemetic Institute shape what she teaches in the classroom. “ I often take what we discuss in our meetings and make it a part of our discussions in the classroom, it’s a way to engage the students and make them want to learn about our culture and accomplishments.”
Speaking of accomplishments Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, is the president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation that allegedly freed the slaves.
“Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves, they just walked off of the plantation,” Davis said as her students went into a frenzy.
According to Ms. Davis, the slaves freed themselves because mostly all of the male slaveholders were away at war. Only women and children were left in charge. Because women were less of a threat to the slaves, they simply left. Proving blacks ability to control their own fates.
“We as black people are not accustomed to seeing ourselves as scholars,” Ms. Davis said, as she continues to prove herself to be one through each lesson plan, and through each personal relationship she develops with everyone she encounters. She’s an educator, something she will never have to question.