Here’s Why Black Harvard Students Are Holding Their Own Graduation Ceremony

"This is not about segregation."

Harvard
Image: iStock/marvinh

Getting a diploma from Harvard is one of the biggest accomplishments a person can achieve, but for some, it can come as a bigger task than for others.

Aside from studying and taking grueling tests, if you’re a minority, the outer pressures of society make the already challenging coursework even more difficult. Knowing this, Black members of the class of 2017 decided to form an individual ceremony. It’s the first of its kind at the school in recent memory and took nearly a year to plan.

The separate graduation is an effort to highlight the aforementioned struggles and resilience it takes to get through those.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance,” Michael Huggins, a soon-to-become Masters graduate from Harvard’s Kennedy School, told The Root. “It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”

“This is not about segregation,” He added. “It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”

Recently, across America, there have been incidents of racism – both in comments and violence – at college campuses. Hopefully, the ceremony reminds people that minorities have to encounter certain challenges that others don’t.

Harvard is reported as having a 96 percent graduation rate for black students who remain in school for an average of six years. Stanford, Temple and Columbia all have Black student graduations, which have been criticized for appearing divisive.

Do you agree? Let us know below in the comments section.

 

This article was written by Paul Meara and originally appeared on BET.com.

 
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  • Chris Arguello

    I feel that this is just one more example of ” separate, but equal”. Wasn’t good back in the fifties, not cool now.

    • This is not about segregation,” He added. “It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”

    • Recently, across America, there have been incidents of racism – both in comments and violence – at college campuses. Hopefully, the ceremony reminds people that minorities have to encounter certain challenges that others don’t.

      • Chris Arguello

        I happen to be half mexican, and an excon to boot, so i know a little about “challenges “, i just don’t agree with your statement. Time to put on your big boy ( or girl) pants, and move on.

  • Mec-One

    That same collective could have made HBCU’s greater ……..

  • B Maez

    What’s next separate drinking fountains maybe separate housing? we’ve stepped back 50 yrs. Well they can always blame it on Whitey when things don’t go their way!!

  • Bill Gross

    “Aside from studying and taking grueling tests”.
    Sometimes in life all you need to know about a person is one thing. This is all I need to know about this snowflake.
    Another liberal nut heard from.

  • Peter Brydon

    Oh boy, snowflakes need their special treatment and to try and bring back segregation. What next, Chinese students insist on their own due to politics? Let’s make sure nobody quotes the Dalai Lama.

    Seriously, did MLK never teach them anything? We should all graduate side by side as human beings and try to erase the distinctions between black and white. Not exploit them for special treatment or exclusionary reasons.

  • Cle Collins

    I totally disagree. Reading the first 2 paragraphs makes me sick. You are teaching separation and until this stops, racism is promoted. Knowing THIS is much more important than believing THAT crap you are spewing about “challenges from society” and garbage like that. Sorry people, it is truly time for you to stand up for your individuality and bare some responsibility stopping this way of thinking. If you do not, you will be doomed to passing the “better than thou” attitude.