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History made for HBCU alums and AKA sisters

By SHSJC Student Aliyu Saadu, written for JAC 310, Prof. Lynn Waltz

After a historic Inauguration on Wednesday, Coretta Saadu, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, said seeing fellow sorority member Kamala Harris sworn in was one of the most exciting moments of her life.

“It was a history making event,” she said. “I was proud to see the first HBCU graduate become vice president. Seeing Kamala get elected shows the importance of HBCUs and it also shows that they’re not outdated as some have said.”

Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986. Saadu graduated from South Carolina State in 1990. There, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

“For women like me, today was a landmark moment for HBCUs. To have a woman who looks like me and was educated like me, she has been an example to other black women,” Saadu said.

HBCUs have developed some of the nation’s top lawyers, activists, scientists, journalists, and doctors. Among these distinguished graduates are Toni Morrison, Taraji P. Henson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey. This list also includes civil right icons Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse College), John Lewis (Fisk University, and newly-elected senator Rev. Raphael Warnock (Morehouse College), the first black senator in Georgia.

“HBCUs offers a nurturing environment free from racial injustice, which allows you to focus on academia. The protected, safe, and family like environment, also contributed to bringing out the best in everyone,” Saadu said.

Graduates of these colleges and universities have run for the highest offices in the nation, including Jesse Jackson Sr., who graduated from North Carolina A & T and was the first African American to campaign for presidency in 1984 and 1988. Now, more than 30 years later, Harris holds an office just under that.

“HBCUs have always produced successful African American graduates who are at the top of their respective field,” Saadu said. “Mainstream America are now starting to see the excellence these institutions exemplify.”

Note: Due to pandemic conditions students were given permission to interview family members.

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