“I was born a writer.”
So often we go through life’s journey seeking answers to our specific calling. Yet, Marita Golden, CAS/BA ’72, knew from the beginning what she aspired to become. As an author, master teacher, and motivational speaker, Marita has taken an active interest in historical preservation and elevating cultural awareness through her literary works.
“I write to connect with others on this journey we call life. I teach in order to work with others on ways to enlarge the spirit and encourage creative growth,” she says. “I present lectures and read from my work in order to build bridges and share ideas. And I read as a way of living in a state of permanent evolution.”
As a member of the inaugural class of American University’s Fredrick Douglass Scholarship recipients, she proudly shares how AU impacted her life on many levels. There was a unique inner sense that she was a part of something special in AU’s history as a member of the first group of FDS recipients. “This was groundbreaking for our institution during an incredibly trying time in our country’s history where access to higher education was limited, particularly for Black students,” Marita explains. While Marita says she continues to see access and equity issues across the country, she applauds AU’s commitment to ensuring access to students of color through the FDS program.
As a student, Marita was actively involved in campus activities. She was a proud member of OASATAU (formerly AU’s Black Student organization) and a writer for The Eagle. She particularly appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the student newspaper. “Growing up, I was always curious and observant of my surroundings,” she says. “I lived in my head with creative imagery and detailed storylines…finding my voice in the student newspaper was incredibly important to my overall development, and for that I am forever grateful.”
By mentoring current Ebony Eagles, she wishes to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones to embrace the richness of AU’s culture and the exposure to opportunities not traditionally afforded to the average citizen.
Regarding AU’s new strategic plan, Marita sees a promising vision for AU’s future. “I applaud AU’s intentional investment in DC partnerships, and I encourage fellow alumni to rally behind the university’s efforts,” she says. “It is concerning to see the number of Black students dwindle, so creating such partnerships, such as those with DC Public Schools, will promote access, equity, and inclusivity for all.”
Marita is excited to participate as a featured panelist in the AU Alumni Association’s annual Books and Brunch event on September 14. She has authored 17 books, including one that will be published in October. Her newest book, titled Us Against Alzheimer’s: Stories of Family, Love, and Faith, shares moving personal stories about the impacts of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
As we press forward with AU’s Strategic Plan and our theme of “Changemakers for a Changing World,” it’s fitting to highlight Marita as a shining example of countless AU changemakers, creating a meaningful impact in our ever-changing world.