The Original Golden Girls reflect on 50 years as pioneers of HBCU dance teams

Alcorn State University's 2018 Homecoming was one to be remembered for the 1968 Golden Girls.

The ladies celebrated their 50th anniversary during Homecoming weekend with a celebration banquet Friday, Oct. 5 in the Dr. Clinton Bristow, Jr. Dining Hall Gold Room. Golden Girls from multiple eras gathered to share their appreciation for the 1968 class for starting the legacy. The inaugural Golden Girls were also recognized at halftime of Alcorn's Homecoming game against Alabama State. 

Founded in July of 1968 by the late Samuel Griffin at then Alcorn A&M College, the Golden Girls, aka GG’s were the first dance line to perform as a featured squad with choreographed movements to an HBCU’s marching band’s live tunes. In the fall of 1968, the often imitated but never duplicated, world-renowned Golden Girls made their national debut in Miami, Florida during the Orange Blossom Classic. 

According to records, no one had ever seen a female dance team perform during halftime of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) football game. A silence fell upon the crowd as the original eight regal, African-American ladies took the field.  

The former dancers were in awe of the effort that went into their events. For Gloria Gray Liggins, reuniting with her former dance team brought her joy. She was happy to be a part of the ceremonies, and also she applauded everyone who made the events happen.

"It was very gratifying knowing that someone would think so highly of us and to honor us in such a grand way," said Liggins. "It was a pleasure seeing the ladies that started this legacy. It was a great feeling to be recognized for starting something that others would still follow years later. The weekend was magical, and it was a great honor."

Before their big weekend, Barbara Heidelberg Fox anticipated a good time, but she didn't realize how big the celebrations for her peers would be. She spoke about her experience in the Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band and how being a Golden Girl helped shape her into who she has become.

"It was an overwhelming and heartwarming honor," said Fox. "I had no idea something that grand had been planned. With the great education that we obtained, being a Golden Girl was truly a life-changing reward."

As the weekend came to a close, Paulette McClain Moore knew that their moment together was significant. It was a moment that Moore said would remain in her heart for a lifetime.

"It was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life," said Moore.