This past weekend as I was driving home and I noticed a few students on the corner of the street with signs advertising "Free Car Wash." Their sign was misleading because as I drove closer I saw the small print on the sign reading "Suggested Donation: $5." Usually, I would just donate the money and go on my merry way, but this time I actually needed my car washed. I pulled into the designated spot and to my surprise I was met by about ten students who looked as if all they wanted to do was kick me for making them leave from the shade of the trees and wash my car.
As the students began soaking their sponges, one of the adult leaders came to inform me that the purpose of the fundraiser was for the students' college fund. While listening to the gentleman, I notice in my peripheral vision the group of students violating the first commandment of car washing -- never let the soap dry! I grew impatient, thinking that someone would correct the student's ways, so I walked over and begin aiding them in washing my car.
While lending my 'expertise' in car washing, one of the students noticed my Morehouse College bumper sticker. This set off myriad of questions in regard to Morehouse and Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a whole. While discussing my experience thus far at Morehouse, I noticed the look of amazement on the faces of the students and even the adult leaders. Two cars later, they finally explained to me that their amazement was due to them never hearing an African-American male exclaim about being in school. Moreover, I begin to realize that this was the first time since entering Morehouse that I became aware that my experience and joy of school may not have been shared by those outside of the hollowed gates of the college.
Throughout my life, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have always had a presence and an impact on me. My parents and many of my family members have graduated from a number of different HBCUs. Since a young age, my image of college has always resembled an HBCU campus. My parents made it a point to bring me with them to homecomings and reunions to discuss the importance of having an HBCU education. As I washed the cars with those eager students, I think I finally understood what my parents were trying to show me. The education received at an HBCU will do more for you than getting a good job and a high paying salary, but it is to mold you into a well-rounded individual, a conscious leader, and a light to a dim world. We as students of these distinguished HBCUs have a responsibility to aid the world, our country, and most importantly our communities. Our campuses are the breeding ground for new ideas and inventions that shape the world.
If I were to summarize what Morehouse has taught me in my two years there, it would be to aim high and to lift others higher.