Esther majored in English, Creative Writing, and was published in The Knox Student and Catch magazine. She was also a Mellon Fellow, and was active in ABLE and the Association for Black Cultural Centers.
After leaving Knox, she earned a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Memphis and recently earned the Master of Divinity degree from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center. As a seminarian she was inducted into the Theta Phi honors society. Currently, she serves at the historical Paradise/Reed Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
BAN Involvement and Becoming a Knox Parent
Esther was one of the founding members of the Black Alumni Network (BAN) in 2015. She is the current president of its Board of Directors. Involvement with BAN has proven to be catharsis for her. She shared that the Knox campus was not easy to navigate, and she struggled with being one of a few Black students on a predominantly white campus. When Esther left in the 1990s, she did not return for nearly 20 years.
“Historically, Black students graduate from Knox and seldom re-engage. Many of us experienced micro-aggressions and social isolation that were traumatizing. So, there was a real need for BAN. Black alumni need a safe and welcoming space to process our Knox experiences with people who understood their perspectives. We need to figure out what the Knox experience meant to us and then find ways that we can become an engaged alumni populace.”
Indeed, BAN helped Esther process her Knox experience, and when the time arrived for her daughter to choose a college, Esther encouraged her to consider Knox.
“Knox was an ideal choice for my daughter,” Esther commented. “I knew from personal experience that she would receive an excellent education due to the small class size and the challenging curriculum, and she needed a small campus environment. I also knew she would have opportunities to study abroad and explore her academic and extracurricular interests.”
But, what about the racial challenges of being a brown student on a predominantly white campus? Esther wondered if she was sending her daughter to an environment that would marginalize her very existence and leave her hurting and bruised as it had done to her.
“Honestly, I wrestled with that. I wondered if my daughter was prepared for the Knox experience. I had healed over time from the Knox experience, so I objectively weighed the advantages and disadvantages of sending her to Knox and the community of Galesburg.”
Esther believed her daughter was prepared to be a Knox legacy, and in 2019 Esther became the proud parent of a Knox graduate. Her daughter, Delilah Wilson, graduated from Knox with a degree in Art History and a minor in Spanish.