Making news in 2023
As construction moves apace on Renfrow Hall, its namesake continues to make news and share her wisdom. So far in 2023, she's been featured in four media stories:
- In Claretta Bellamy's article, "She was an education pioneer. At 108, Edith Renfrow Smith shares her life lessons," Mrs. Renfrow Smith tells her extended family's history while recognizing the centrality of the person who most shaped her -- her mother.
- You can hear Mrs. Renfrow Smith's liviely exchanges with Scott Simon, the NPR host of Weekend Edition Saturday in "Meet the woman who has witnessed over 80 years of Black history in Chicago."
- Her alma mater's Spring 2023 Grinnell Magazine includes an in depth story about Mrs. Renfrow Smith and the vision behind Renfrow Hall.
- Mrs. Renfrow Smith is the subject of the op ed, More than a century of Black Girl Magic and the focus of an illustrated biography, No one is better than you: Edith Renfrow Smith and the power of a mother's words, set to be published later this year.
For her 109th birthday on July 14, Mrs. Renfrow Smith was interviewed by two Chicago news outlets:
- Hear how she is still "enjoying life immensely" in her third annual interview with Chicago Sun Times reporter, Neil Steinberg.
- And listen to her reflect on her century of living and see her make a batch of her famous strawberry jam in this WGN news story with Mike Lowe.
Mrs. Renfrow Smith also had a belated birthday visit on July 22, 2023, from three current Grinnellians (Hemlock Stanier, Evelyn Caperton, and Elizabeth Eggert -- all class of 2025) who constitute Team Renfrow Summer 2023. These students have spent the summer researching the deep history of the Renfrow-Craig-Lucas family tree through census, property, and vital records. Learn about their tie in with the 2023 RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) and listen to the narratives they wrote and delivered for the September 23, 2023 Hazelwood Cemetery Walk sponsored by the Grinnell Historical Museum.