So as I was sitting in syllabus day of class (yeah, they have those in graduate school also) my professor gave me some background information on the building that I work in, which is now the Arts Building, but it was formerly the masonic temple. The building hosted the towns KKK meetings and he explained that some groups of people were hesitant to return even now because of its sordid history. I laughed, literally out loud. I think it's a slap in the face to those bigots that not only am I working in the building they formerly plotted my people's demise in, but I'm a graduate student getting paid to go to school, doing more than they thought my race was capable of.
I think that if anything, feminism has taught me that you can reclaim, rework, and redefine what was once a detriment to you. I recall the stories of La Malinche, one of the Mexican mothers. She was seen as a traitor for consorting with the conquistadors and specifically Cortez, but feminists have reclaimed her to represent struggle, perseverance, and the will to survive. I do the same. I refuse to be shut out of any place because of history. I will reclaim the space and use it for success.
So as I walk into that beautiful building that once was closed to me I imagine angry white men masked by hoods glaring at me, torches in hand, but unable to speak, touch, hurt or harm me. I smile. It's mine now :)