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Living the HBCU Legacy Scholarship Finalists (3912 hits)

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Living the HBCU Legacy Scholarship Finalists
BTClayton - "Living the HBCU Legacy"
carmlmonie - "Living the Legacy"
E. Hansel - "Living the HBCU Legacy"
Meg - "Living the HBCU Legacy"
Pterrill611 - "HBCUs - Bringing Dreams t

Greetings HBCU Fam!

Thanks to all of you who submitted an entry for our Living the HBCU Legacy Scholarship Competition! We received some great entries, and we're proud to see HBCU students that recognize the value of their institutions.

We've selected five finalists for our competition... now it's time for you HBCUConnect.com members to choose your winner!

Here are the submissions from our finalists - vote for your favorite, and tell your friends on HBCUConnect.com to participate!

Voting closes at 12:00am EDT, Saturday October 20.

carmlmonie - "Living the Legacy"

Growing up in the Beaverton school district, (85% white/ 12 % hispanic)) I noticed being the only black student in class, since kindergarten. This is generally the same routine, you end up talking “preppier”, and laughing “squeakier” on accident, but every year around the time we talk about history, and slavery, and prejudice, and you undergo the same discomfort. I remember keeping my head mostly down, not commenting, waiting for someone to say something dumb or inconsiderate, “Actually, only like 15 people got lynched,” or “my best friend is black, and we say the n-word together all the time,” or “they really do look like monkeys.” Honestly, I was never plagued by it until recently. In a philosophy class I was taking we were considering the power of language, and discussing racial slurs. The same comments represented themselves, which I was prepared for. We generally argue in this class, and often play devil’s advocate just to explore the other sides of issues; but when discussing the “effect” of these words, we discussed the effect, of confederate flags, nooses, and one student even presented a skinhead rally website in front of the class. As if it wasn’t enough, the next day, in history no less, we watched the life of Emmitt Till. I was needless to say in tears, and awe over the violence I’d just seen. But when the movie was over, the lights were on, and the image of Emmitt’s 14 year-old bloodied, disfigured body flashed through my mind like a nightmare, all one person could muster was “well why would he whistle at a white woman anyway, didn‘t he know better?”
It is obvious as to why I value historically black colleges and universities. I can speak my mind, I can be articulate, and work hard without being a “smart black girl.” The white students don’t say “good job” to each other for good grades, or scores, but when they see mine, they immediately say “wow!” or “atta -girl!” I shake my head to myself at these remarks, and allow them not too much depth. But more than what I take in from these HBCU’s is the depth of impact they should have on America, and it is not recent at all.
Alex Haley who published Roots a beyond epic story, that showed the destitute, horror and pain of slavery and forced Americans to own it, went to Alcorn. He enlightened the world to show the true colors of Malcolm X, as not a radical and monster that the White Media would have portrayed, but as an intelligent, bold, Black man who refused to be the victim of socio-economic circumstance.
W.E.B. Du Bois was the most prominent intellectual leader and political activist on behalf of African Americans in the first half of the twentieth century; Along with attending Fisk University he fathered Black Confidence by re-affirming our African heritage, and labeling it as worthy, competent, and strong. How quickly we forget the leaders, we have turned out through the support and guidance of HBCU’s.
Even today, we have great role models in innovators like Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, both award-winning cultural icons who exemplify what a positive message it is to be black. Jackson’s has won several academy awards but is known by many as the main who helped fuel the black power movement. Alongside Stokely Carmichael and others. Spike Lee is so much a role model because he fears no controversy or opposition when it comes to race relations; he will identify and denounce moral wrongs wherever he sees them occur, and through his love of film, helps us to be aware of these atrocities when we see them.
The intention of a Historically black College, may have been to education of Black Americans. In all, HBCU’S have bred the architects of American History, and made it live-able; The forefathers of the United States ran a genocide, a slave ship, and called them all “manifest destiny”; our Martin Luther King’s and other real leaders received their education from HBCU’s and with it tool the character, discipline and morals they acquired to remodel the bleak system that was created.
Surely we need one more world changer to make up for every gang member that wears our skin.
And our scholars, are demonstrators, our activists are who whites and all American’s should look at when defining or pigeon-holing any race. They uphold an image that I would be so proud for all of our youth to strive for.

BTClayton - "Living the HBCU Legacy"

HBCU’s have contributed to American history by giving African Americans an opportunity for higher education. It provided us with the knowledge to pursue careers that did not require broken backs and calluses on our hands and knees. HBCU’s continue to provide a foundation for everyone based on the reality of African American life, not the media version of how we live. HBCU’s also provide people of color with a safe place to transition into an adult and determine who we are by exposing us to a broad spectrum of opportunities, lifestyles, and beliefs.

The most frequent argument I’ve heard against HBCU’s is they are not reflective of ‘real’ life. Though only a high schooler, I believe ‘real’ life is what I lived yesterday and today, and can change in a moment. How well would a HBCU prepare me for Nicaraguan missionary work, or social work in Chicago, or D.C. politics? Just as well as any other college! Though I’m not in college, I am confident that we bring more to our future than four years of undergrad. Long-term personal and professional success is based on desire, talent, and belief in oneself. HBCU’s have provided generations of African Americans with foundational self-esteem and self-awareness that is the backbone of great African American leaders in all walks of life – comedian Wanda Sykes (Hampton), Black Enterprise publisher Earl Graves (MSU), president of the American Cancer Society Dr. LaSalle Laffall, Jr. (FAMU), and Oprah Winfrey (TSU) to name a few.

My mom attended Howard University. She said at her high school, which was about 10% African American, teachers and administrators considered her ‘special.’ Her grades were average but she was articulate and involved. She went to Howard thinking everyone would look like her, make the same grades, and have the same political and world view that she had. She was wrong. She had to work hard to meet the educational standards set by her peers. She was exposed to African American Republicans, atheists, and people who had left families in third-world countries for education. She met the African American children of millionaires and scholarship recipients who had nothing but intelligence and determination. She said the experience was humbling. She realized for the first time that African Americans are just as diverse in their thoughts and experiences as others. Her Republican friends opened up her mind to different political perspectives, her friends who held different religious beliefs forced her to develop a deeper understanding of her own faith. She never appreciated education as much as she learned to through friendships with people whose families sacrificed to send them for an HBCU education. HBCU’s provide all students with a firm foundation of truth, history, exposure, support, and education upon which to build the rest of their lives. I have no doubt that I will leave Hampton having learned the lessons my mom wishes me to. In fact, for those of us who have the will, we’ll learn those lessons and much, much more.

Meg - "Living the HBCU Legacy"

I live in a world where society condescends upon the ignorant, and without remorse shun those who lack hope, ambition, and understanding. Education is the only thing that separates our collars and classes; for without it our race, gender, class, and creed wouldn’t stand for as much as it does today. Equality would reign throughout, and our skins would be mentally blanched to obtain the same integrity as that of a white man. Nowadays a degree is what sets you apart from thousands of hopefuls that possibly all possess the same potential. A college degree certifies that you command the knowledge it takes to accomplish any given job at that particular field. This it what many of my peers and superiors fail to understand; that even today as an African American we must strive to duplicate and exceed our desires in order to establish our ideals.
Historically Black Universities, in so many ways, has helped to transform our society, making it possible for minority groups to achieve higher education. We often take for granted the fact that even during the 1990’s African Americans weren’t allowed to be educated in the same buildings as Caucasians, making it impossible to receive the education that we now have as students. Several years later, and we are now blessed with Black Colleges and Universities in almost each of our United States. With a Black president in the near future, our race has come a long way; and without the facilities it takes to educate us, our evolution could have never made it thus far.
In this day and age Blacks not only participate, but excel in the fields that were once not even an option for our race. My peers and I can now look up to those pioneers, and look forward to one day adding our prints to the longs list of achievements we have conquered so far. Not going to college has never been an option for me, however, my ancestors were not as fortunate as we are to be born into a point in time where HBCUs are in full effect. So in August, I will be granted the education that thousands of my people before me were excluded from. With an eager mind and a hopeful heart, Virginia State University will give me the skills and opportunity I need to be great.

Pterrill611 - "HBCUs - Bringing Dreams to Reality"

Historically Black colleges and universities are the keystone to advancing African American education. Prior to the beginning of the Civil War, the perception of having s post-secondary institution for African-Americans was not prevalent or logical. Very few people during this time period, such as Fredrick Douglass, who received schooling, but were learning in unfriendly territory and others, had to teach themselves. It was due for blacks to have a place where they could learn in peace and that became true in 1837 with the Institute of Colored Youth, which later renamed itself to Cheney University. Cheney University is the oldest Historically Black College and University, and is home to late great, 60 minutes television host, Ed Bradley.
As Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to move toward the forefront in premier education, they continue to instill the black heritage of a people and impress the importance of getting a good, quality education.
The various Historically Black Colleges and Universities located all over the country are places of extended community and family, and when you step foot on Historically Black campuses, or “the yard”, you immediately feel the struggle that came prior for you to attend the school, such as slavery, Plessey vs. Ferguson and “separate but equal”, The Dred Scott Decision, and also the triumphs such as the Morrill Land-Grant Act, which gave federally allocated funds to states to open black institutions, Brown vs. Board, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the case of Adams vs. Richardson which found ten states in violation of supporting desegregated schooling. With the troubling times of court, the Second World War, and the Great Depression, left these historical schools in a financial trouble, but because of the various court meetings that were triumphant, the HBCU’s and the black people prospered and move forward.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities are ready to cultivate and nurture the flurry of incoming students and build them up for a better tomorrow and brighter future. In the end, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities will last forever because as an African American male getting ready to attend Tuskegee University, the memories, the education, pride, and the history invested in me will live on and matriculate out into the world because as my presence liberates myself, it automatically will liberate others. Fredrick Douglass, a man who educated himself once proclaimed during a speech of his on August 3rd, 1957 that,” If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others”. From the words of Fredrick Douglass, to today, and the future, we have progressed and Historically Black Colleges and Universities will continue to bring the hopes and dreams of the deterred before us into reality, forever and ever. That is their legacy.

E. Hansel - "Living the HBCU Legacy"

The creation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) came out of the need for centers of excellence to educate African American’s who were not allowed to attend institutions of higher learning based solely on the color of their skin. African American’s have had a history of making a way when there is no way and the development of the HBCU is no different.

HBCU’s have contributed greatly to American history by producing some of the greatest thinkers of our times. The sons and daughters of these great universities include Thurgood Marshall, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Barbara Jordan and a host of others in a number of fields. Not only have HBCU’s trained great minds, but have allowed great minds to do the training with HBCU’s employing such professors as Alain Locke, Kelly Miller and Ossie Davis.

Following in the tradition of making a way when there is none HBCU’s have been pivotal in the development and progress of the Black Greek Letter Organization’s known as the Divine Nine. Though the first Greek organization, Alphi Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was founded on the campus of Cornell University in 1906, it was on the campus of an HBCU, Howard University that five of those divine nine were founded. Howard University lives as the cradle to the oldest Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the largest Black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., as well as Omega Ps Phi Fraternity Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. These organizations have committed themselves to service and have over the last 100 years made strides and lasting impact on the Black community and America at-large.

Ben Okri wrote, “In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river, it was always hungry.” Okri’s words speak to the experience of the Black Diaspora and the foundation of the HBCU. These school’s began as rivers and like roads spread throughout America. They continue their relevance today because we remain hungry. Our hunger is derivative of the neglect we receive in learning about ourselves in the classrooms of public schools and halls of predominately white institutions.

Historically Black colleges and universities teach with greater attention to the principle of Sankofa, which is an Akan word meaning to “reach back and take.” In other words these schools work as Mecca’s of giving in aspects of education, love, and friendship while instilling morals and principles that one cannot learn anywhere else. These schools not only educate but cultivate by helping their sons and daughters to grow not only in education but in physical, mental and spiritual aspects as well. Without these schools the leaders of today and tomorrow lose valuable training. From these institutions we learn the true value of being selfless because we think, act, and learn not only for ourselves but for those around us.
Posted By: Jon C.
Friday, September 12th 2008 at 4:38PM
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