I decided to attend an HBCU because of the rich tradition that has produced black superheroes like my idol W.E.B. Dubois, who attended Fisk University. Additionally, during the time that I attended an HBCU, the President of the UNCF was former congressman William Gray, who was a close friend of my mother and he spoke highly of the tradition of the black college. Moreover, I was encouraged by my high school English teacher, Mrs. Delores Henderson, who attended Johnson C. Smith University and she told me about the Golden Bull tradition. I was more than intrigued, so I attended, and it transformed my very life.
Chad Dion Lassiter, Johnson C. Smith University
I was strongly encouraged by my family and others around me to go to an HBCU. It seemed like a natural option. All of my close friends and family members that I grew up around attended HBCUs. It seemed like the most logical next step. I wanted to go to a school that I could have personal attention and learn more about myself as a black person. I had learned no black history outside of what AP U.S. History taught me.
Kimberly M. Brown, Fisk University
I wanted an undergraduate experience that was supportive, and I wanted to become part of a legacy. I wanted to also go to an institution that was challenging. Of the HBCUs that met these criteria, I looked at Howard University, Xavier University, and Spelman College. The latter two were my top two choices and I applied for early admission. Both institutions accepted me, and I chose Xavier at the end of the day. Xavier is located in New Orleans, a city rooted in my family history: It’s where my mother was born, where my grandmother first started teaching following college and brimming with Creole culture—my culture. Xavier is my mother’s alma mater and I wanted to continue in tradition. She had so much pride for her alma mater that it seemed like a no-brainer.
My college advisor was a white woman who didn’t understand the value of HBCUs. She only pushed the University of California system on me. She noticed that I had stellar grades but didn’t understand that it was just as difficult to earn a way into Spelman and Xavier as it was to earn a way into UCLA. Having gone to stellar private schools where I was one of many black children in the class, I was not yet ready to be the only minority in my classroom. I did not want to learn in spaces where I would be subjected to microaggressions daily. At the time, I didn’t know the word microaggression, but now I understand that was my fear. I knew that racism was everywhere and that going to a school like UC Berkeley would afford me many opportunities, but I didn’t want to deal with covert racism daily.
Quandra Chaffers, Spelman College