Though I graduated from Penn State, I always say I did all my learning at Howard University. Before having to transfer for health issues, I attended the illustrious Howard University for the majority of my undergraduate degree. Howard is known as ”The Mecca” because young Black people migrate there from around the world to learn with a foundation rooted in Black history and achievement. Howard is just one of many Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but its rich legacy puts it above the rest.
The experience was one that I’m very happy and proud to have been a part of. I reveled in the fact that every student had to fulfill an “African-American requirement” for their major. This means that we had to take a certain number of credits devoted specifically to Black studies. I learned so much about our people (in and out of classroom) that I never would have had I never attended. Classes like “Black aesthetics” taught me to that my way of thinking was off, thanks to the Western influences in society and to change to a more Afrocentric point of view. The experience helped mold me in to the man and thinker that I am today. I lived every day in Blackness (not darkness) and, though I had always been pro-Black, it instilled in me a pride that I hadn’t had before.
So, you can imagine the dismay I felt when I learned that Angelicque Blackmon, the principal of Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science fired teachers for teaching Black history to the children there. I mean, what the fuck, man? It is HOWARD UNIVERSITY. “The Mecca” of Black culture. During my time there, I was always aware of the middle school, but never learned too much about it. I thought the kids in there were destined to be forces to be reckoned with, considering they were being educated by the same system encouraging me to learn so much about Black culture and become a leader in Black America. I don’t understand how anybody could be punished by Howard University for preaching too much Blackness to anybody. It reminded me of how Hampton University (Howard’s rival) disciplined students for “twerking” and wearing locs. Is Howard going in the same direction?
I was relieved to see that the students and parents didn’t stand for it. The students staged a protest for their teachers in the middle of the campus with signs and red, black and green Pan-African flags. That’s what we would’ve done. We protested on a few occasions when something rubbed us the wrong way.
Time will tell what will come of the firings at Howard University Middle School, but the whole thing just stinks. It is still very confusing as to how this whole thing even happened in the first place. It is said that the teachers had planned to resign anyway because their efforts to infuse the Greek/Roman-heavy curriculum with more African-based stuff were rebuffed. It seems that Howard has to do some true soul searching to repair the damage that this incident has done to its reputation as one of the nation’s epicenters of Black culture.