James Ford, whose passions range from Mozart to Depression-era African American culture, was not your average single guy. So he was thrilled to connect with Kwanda Scott, who, as he put it, “was interested in the same nerdy things I was.”
Their avid intellects not only led them to each other but also to their careers. Ford, 29, is a professor of literature at Occidental College in Eagle Rock. Scott, 34, does independent research on women, social media and political activism.
They met in 2006 talking politics in a Yahoo! chat room, and the first time they spoke by phone, Scott said, “His voice was so rich my phone was vibrating.” When they met for coffee, Ford remembered, “I felt so very at peace with her.”
This past February, Ford took Scott to dinner. He was nervous, suspecting she knew something was up.
“I was looking at the bottom of my drink for a ring,” she said, “and chewing slowly in case he put it in the food.”
But he just kept talking about how wonderful their relationship was, while she thought, “Brother, please get on with it,” until he finally did.
They were married August 6 at Herrick Chapel on the Occidental College campus. The ceremony, officiated by Mary Jean Valente of A Ceremony of the Heart, reflected their love, roots and religious beliefs.
Their heritage as part of the African diaspora was represented by the Four Elements ritual of the Yoruba people, where bride and groom taste lemon, vinegar, cayenne and honey to represent the sacrifices, disappointments, passion and sweet rewards their union will bring.
In the Christian tradition, they tied the Cord of Three Strands — purple for the groom, white for the bride and gold for the divinity of God — based on the New Testament quote: “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
After the tears and joy of the ceremony, it was time for food, laughter and dancing at a reception for 30 guests at a private home in San Marino.