By Kay Shaw Nelson
'Tis been a bonnie year for Scots and Scottish Americans in our nation's
capital, Washington, DC, where a series of events featuring the vitality
and diversity of Scotland's traditional culture have attracted
considerable attention. Less heralded but most important is an
organization called The Living Legacy of Scotland.
For anyone who likes to hoist 'a cup o'
kindness' and sing the praises of Scots by honoring the past and
celebrating the future, the Legacy's annual reception at the historic
James Monroe House, Home of the Arts Club of Washington, was the ideal
place. Here a convivial gathering of members and their guests enjoyed a
festive evening while honoring the Legacy and its goals.
Founded in March 2000 and incorporated
in the District of Columbia as a nonprofit corporation, the Legacy has a
dual purpose. First, to preserve the rich heritage of people of Scottish
birth or descent and the many contributions they have made to the United
States and the world; and second, to ensure that this heritage remains a
vital, living stimulus to future accomplishments.
To accomplish its objectives, the Living
Legacy is creating and will present educational displays and productions
for public events, for schools, museums, and libraries, and participate
and support Scottish cultural activities, and provide academic grants and
scholarships. It will present both modern and historic contributions as
part of the legacy passed to society.
As an educational organization made up
of a group of dedicated volunteers who give of their time to promote and
extend the continuing development of Scottish history and culture,
sponsors and benefactors are required. Any supporters or sponsors will
receive recognition in the Legacy's written materials and receive an
invitation for two to a yearly reception held in Washington, DC.
For information about participation and
donations, interested persons can write to PO Box 11445, Washington, DC
At the May 2003 reception, enlivened
with Norman Weaver's stirring bagpipe tunes, colorful kilts, tartans, and
Highland dress, the welcoming social hour featured a display of written
and visual exhibits depicting notable Scots, and renewal of friendships.
The spirit of good fellowship continued
through dinner and thereafter with the singing of traditional songs by
Mary Gillies Swope, Dr. Brian B. Turner, and Andrew Dodds, followed by
welcoming remarks and the introduction of special guests by the Legacy
president, Anne Robertson Kennedy.
The evening's honored guests were Lord
Godfrey Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald, and his wife, Claire
Macdonald, a world renowned writer, cook, and lecturer who has a cooking
school at the Kinloch Lodge, one of the family's ancestral homes, on the
Isle of Skye.
The Scottish Literary Forum, a project
of the Living Legacy, brings together those who are interested in
exploring and discussing Scottish literature - fiction, poetry, essays,
and non-fiction. A major emphasis is on 20th century Scottish fiction. At
each monthly meeting participants read and discuss a selected book and
from time to time, guest speakers and authors will be invited to discuss
their work. Judith Walton is chairman of the Forum.