Fall is here and it’s homecoming season at Historically Black Colleges and Universities all over the United States. Coming back to homecoming for alumnae is like going to a family reunion with no blood relatives. Smoke pumping from BBQ grills on the yard is the savory smell of, ‘I’m home’.
Greeks gather in lines, strolling through campus yards stepping and belting tribal-like pledge calls. Cheerleaders run across football fields during halftime; music blares from the stands and the back of tailgates.
The end of summer marks the anticipation of homecoming for new and old HBCU graduates.
The History of The Black College Experience
Yes, homecoming is the highlight of football season; however, there is a question that looms. Where did homecoming come from?
Education has always been a luxury to the Black community in the last few centuries. In spite of that fact, Black folks always find a way.
Pennsylvania is the first state to officiate a Historically Black College on February 25, 1837. Richard Humphrey, an eighteenth-century philanthropist granted $10,000 to 13 Quakers to create an institute for Black students, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
The Union Review referred to The Second Morrill Act of 1870 that required that land-grant institutions be provided if a Black student is denied college admission.
Moreover, Huntsville Normal School, now Alabama A&M is the creation of William Hooper Council founded in 1875.
The rich history of the historical Black experience contributes to the legacy of homecoming.
What Homecoming Means to the HBCU Experience
Whereas black schools pride themselves on the Black experience of homecoming, PWI students often view Black college culture as barbaric. The Black alumnae undoubtedly minimizes the margin by not caring what others think.
Homecoming was once a week long college festival where veteran Greeks dominated step shows and parties.
Because of COVID-19, traditions are changing and adjusting. More people are getting vaccinated so old time traction is continuing to find its way back in.