La Respuesta 06: Morgan P. Vickers

Morgan P. Vickers, recent college grad and current  National Trust for Historic Preservation  intern, visits  historic Green Book sites  on Route 66.

Morgan P. Vickers, recent college grad and current National Trust for Historic Preservation intern, visits historic Green Book sites on Route 66.


La Respuesta is Navegando's version of the Proust Questionnaire, where we take a deep dive into exploring our similarities, our differences, and the stories that make us human. 

My name is Morgan P. Vickers. I'm a recent college graduate, a recovery and mental health advocate, a community historian, and an aspiring storyteller. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Massachusetts, spent my formative years in the suburbs of North Carolina, and currently reside in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado (notice a trend here?). I split my time between working for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, researching and documenting lynchings in the American South, applying for PhD programs, and hiking as many mountains and trails as my small body can handle. 

Name: Morgan P. Vickers
Current age: 22
Current location: Denver, CO

What defines you?  My inquisitive spirit. My goofy dance moves and dad jokes. The crease I get between my eyebrows when I'm thinking hard. My deep and unwavering love of a good narrative. My sweet tooth. The awe I feel every time I enter a new space. The good advice I give (but haven't yet learned to follow).

What keeps you up at night? I'm a pretty anxious person who has made quite a few mistakes in the past, so I often find myself replaying social interactions and embarrassing memories from years ago in my mind. But also: Twitter. Sometimes I inadvertently stay up hours later than usual, simply because I get trapped in the purgatory that is a never-ending Twitter thread.

What do you want the most? Empathy, compassion, understanding, education (in all of its beautiful forms), and a really good story.

How do you handle loneliness? I think I'm still learning how to navigate heaviness and loneliness. When I'm really lonely and depressed, I tend to isolate myself. But, as a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, I'm really fortunate to have a built-in network of meetings, and a contact list full of people across the country who have dealt with similar issues. When I'm feeling really low or lonely, I know I can shoot a message into a group of friends or walk into a room of strangers and just say, "Hey, I'm not doing so well today. Would it be okay if I just talk to someone for a while?" And I know that, without fail, someone will pick up the phone or stay a bit later after a meeting to help me feel less alone. I'm also learning how to distinguish feelings -- something I wasn't able to do before I got sober. Recently, I've found myself saying, "Today was really stressful, but I realized I don't feel unhappy." Having both external sources of help and internal growth opportunities helps me keep my head afloat.

How do you feel purposeful? My dear friend and mentor recently passed away, and his words have been rattling around in my head for the past several days. He always told me I should aim to do two things: ask for help when I need it, and be of service to people whenever I can. Or, in other words, give and accept all of the help you can manage in this world. I think I feel most purposeful when I actively seek to improve myself, and when I reach out to someone and see how I can assist in their efforts.

What do you do, when there is no one else around? I watch a lot of dumb prank and fail videos on YouTube. Most of my days are filled with deep, critical thought, and I often feel like I need to counteract that attentiveness with mindless humor.

What character in fame or fiction would you most like to be? If I could turn myself into a type of Frankenstein, combining traits of some of my favorite black characters of fiction and fame: I'd absorb the self-confidence and self-love of Lizzo, the fluidity and poise of Prince, the adventure and beautiful defiance of Hushpuppy (from Beasts of the Southern Wild), the humor of my dad, the authority and academic persona of Ida B. Wells, the surety and candor of Rainbow (from Blackish), and the keen eye and pen of Hilton Als. 

What thing can you not live without? Early mornings. I'm most productive before 9 a.m. I love the feeling of a full, new day. I'm often so eager for a morning coffee that my body naturally wakes me up at 5. And I look my absolute best during the 6 a.m. golden hour.

What medium of art most moves you, and what makes your heart sing? Narrative moves me. Nothing makes me feel more invigorated than a well-written history, a documentary that makes me angry and inspired, or an orator who absorbs all of the air in the room. Content that's been making my heart sing lately: scenes from Pose on FX; music by Janelle Monae, King Princess, Solange, and Maggie Rogers; words by Ashley C. Ford, Durga Chew-Bose, Maggie Nelson, and Mary Oliver; histories by Ida B. Wells; and the stylings of @tomboylooks on Instagram.


Are you interested in telling your stories? Fill out the form here and we'll be add you to the list for future La Respuesta posts.