As Estraletta and I found ourselves 3,000 miles away from our Southern roots, building our careers in the Tri-Cities of Washington, we became part of a vibrant community of graduates from HBCUs nationwide. In a region where only 0.9% of the population was Black, there was a tremendous demand for engineers and scientists, particularly in the Department of Energy (DOE) and its associated contractors. STEM graduates from Southern University A&M , Prairie View A&M, Tennessee State, Dilliard University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Texas Southern University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Howard University flocked to these opportunities, and our paths crossed in this newfound home.
What connected us all was more than just shared career paths; it was a deep bond that many outside our circle struggled to comprehend. Some of our colleagues may have felt uneasy when they saw us (Young, Black, Beautiful, Brilliant) gather in large numbers, not understanding the profound confidence and pride that came from our HBCU experiences. Some may have believed they were superior because they attended predominantly white institutions (PWIs), but they could not escape the magnetic connection that bound us.
Our shared experiences, cultural heritage, and the values instilled in us during our time at HBCUs created an unbreakable bond. We celebrated our heritage, carried the weight of our ancestors, and embraced the legacy of excellence that HBCUs represent. We stood as a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and the unwavering belief that we could achieve greatness despite the odds.
I am immensely honored to serve under the leadership of President Ruth Jackson. In a recent meeting, I shared an experience that made her smile, instantly recognizing the Southern University culture that flowed through my veins. It was a reminder of how our shared backgrounds, experiences, and values transcend geography and institutions.
During the High School Day event, the Langston University Marching Pride played traditional songs familiar to Black college graduates. It was a reminder of the rich cultural tapestry that binds us all. I also learned a new artistic tradition at Langston: “L up!” – a symbol of unity and pride that resonates deeply within the Langston community.
While some may dismiss the Black college experience, it is a bond that links all 102 HBCUs and the countless alumni who have walked their hallowed halls. It is a testament to the enduring power of unity, resilience, and our unbreakable connection.As we continue to celebrate the strength of our shared experiences, let us remember that the bond of HBCU alumni is a source of inspiration, pride, and unwavering support. It is a bond that transcends time and distance, forging a legacy that will continue to shape the future of our communities and the world. ???????????? #HBCUAlumni #Unity #Legacy