Historically Black College, You Got to be Kidding?????

The earliest memory that I have of going to a football game was a rival high school game between the two largest black schools in our city.  The bands were unreal, the cheerleaders kept the crowd engaged, and the actual football being played on the field impelled me to love football above any other sport on this planet.  My cousin Jackie and her boyfriend held my hands as we were leaving the game and though her school lost there were smiles talks of parties and a larger event that was happening the next day…I asked “I’m going with you guys right?”  She smiled and said, “yes”.  Oh my God the band was larger the crowd more festive the cheerleaders made me wish I was in college and the football players, bigger faster and stronger.  And there was Jackie’s boyfriend a linebacker he was a menace.  “I want to go to college, I want to go to college,” I screamed, “I want to go here, I want to go to college.”  She hugged me looked into my eyes and said, “you will have the opportunity to go to a better school, a white school, and probably play football or basketball on television.”  A better school than this she must have been kidding, wasn’t she.  The world in the eyes of a 10 year old in 1980, I wasn’t naive I was ignorant of certain facts.  She was right.  I was recruited by SEC schools, Big 10 schools, and an abundance of smaller schools and Historically Black Colleges…My favorite cousin now lived in Dallas she was hoping I went to a Texas school, she was disappointed when I told her I was choosing a school in the land of Cotton…but she was mad when I told her that I was going to visit four historically black schools, Florida A&M, Southern, Grambling, and Tuskegee.  She said, “why?”  I promised my free enterprise teacher, who was a Southern University graduate and had a very special place in my heart, “The Queen” is what we called her she wore the Civil Rights Movement on her wrinkled brow like a badge of honor, her defiance and strength were in her tone, forceful yet comforting, I loved her with all of my being because I knew she loved me, she loved all her students.  You must remember the Division 1 football programs that I visited to date were the elite of the elite, University of Florida, Oklahoma University, University of Georgia, and the one I chose Florida State.  So when I walked into the field house at the Historically Black Colleges it was laughable but I remember what the Queen told me, “look through the forest so you can see the trees.”  What I noticed was that at the larger schools strip away all the money, the women, and big buildings the schools were devoid of one thing that I had become used to at an educational organization, a “Soul”.  The schools were Soulless there was no flavor they were bland to say the least.  The HBCU’s facilities could not compare on any level to the Division 1 schools, My God everything was better and I mean everything, except for the people.  I have learned that an organizations greatness or ability for greatness is based on the people, the souls that walk the halls, the quads, student unions, and pavilions.  I didn’t come close to picking a HBCU to attend to play the game that I love.  But the wise old Queen knew exactly what she was doing she let me look through the looking glass to understand the power of regret.  Now I have a Son who is were I was so many years ago, as we organized official visits he said, “I see we are hitting the HBCU’s.”  I said, “yep do you want to know why?”  He said, “I know why.”  I was confused, “Why then?” He smiled my smile back at me as he through his shoulders back and raised his head his eyes meeting my own, “Because Tuskegee is just as good as Auburn and I want to see the Peanut museum.”  I smiled, “I don’t think its called the Peanut Museum.”  My Son will probably choose my Alma Mater to attend, a predominantly white school in the South, because that’s where I attended but it made me feel real good that he understands the history of the HBCU’s.  I don’t know why Grambling University athletic facilities aren’t better than some high school facilities but I do stand with the players who brought their plight to a national audience because that’s what The Queen would have done.  Don’t give up your fight athletes of Grambling you are not alone…if I can suggest the Boycott of the Bayou Classic would shake the foundation of every HBCU, the fight isn’t over if you are in it for the long run…other HBCU’s have the exact same problems…            

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One response to “Historically Black College, You Got to be Kidding?????

  1. Pingback: Historically Black College, You Got to be Kidding????? | JimeniinemiJ69

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