Thump In Thought is committed to making a difference in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. We will be showcasing black owned businesses, black created products, culturally uplifting organizations and programs that benefit all, especially the black community.
Back in March, I started plans for my garden in preparation for whatever was coming; food shortages, contamination or the closure of businesses that produce or distribute food. The idea was, if it came down to it, I would at least be able to feed my family. More recently I have been much more intentional with exactly where my money is going, how much and how often. It’s sad to say, there are no black owned grocery store in my county or any of the surrounding cities, that I know of. So how can we support what we don’t have?…we must create for ourselves.
I am proud to say that I am an alumna of Virginia State University, as are my father and one of my brothers, formerly known as Virginia State College for Negroes, Virginia Normal and College Institute, a historically black land-grant university that was founded on March 6, 1882. It was the first fully state supported, four year institution for black people in America.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines HBCUs as, “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education]…”
These were spaces our ancestors created for us to counteract ignorance, oppression and systemic racism. When education went from illegal to unavailable, our ancestors made it possible. Give thanks! I honor my ancestors by taking full advantage of the path made for me. I am the first on my mothers side (immediate family including my siblings, aunts, (I have no uncles), first cousins and grandparents), to graduate with a BS, and MS. My father earned his BS two years before I did, Yes we were on the yard together, making history and herstory, I was PROUD to say the least.
If you care to learn some of the background that birthed these historically rich and preserving institutions, check out the link below:.
5 Things To Know: HBCU Edition (https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/5-things-know-hbcu-edition)
VSU is one of 107 HBCUs in the United States that are recognized by USDOE (Dept. of Ed.) http://www.thehundred-seven.org/. It was not my first choice, I attended North Carolina State University first. NCSU is a predominately white instution (PWI) that is also a land-grant university. That decision was based on proximity to my immediate and extended family and the presence of a veterinary medicine program. There was (and still is) only one HBCU that even had a vet school, Tuskegee in Alabama, and I was not going that far from home. I do not regret, for one moment, going from NCSU to VSU, a PWI to an HBCU. I’m glad I had the opportunities to attend both. You might think that would highlight any disparities between the two but instead it allowed me to be even more appreciative of what was gifted and available to me: a wealth of culture that I related to personally, a community that understood what I needed to survive and thrive, faculty and staff that genuinely worked to ensure success for their students, once in a lifetime research and work experiences, access to some of the most amazing minds in academia and let’s not forget HOMECOMING. Beyonce’s Netflix special gives a glimpse into the immense family reunion accompanied by parades, step shows, football games, concerts, and linking up with “brothers, sisters, and cousins” who you haven’t seen a forever. I love my HBCU and who I am as a result of what I did while I was there.
No matter how you choose to continue your education, the decision should encompass a list of things such as cost, location, programs offered and most importantly (to me) where you will be most comfortable to grow freely. The college years are usually filled with self discovery and worldly realizations. We learn better, live better and fare better if your training, education and preparation are done under less stressful, less threatening, more welcoming, encouraging and inclusive conditions.
As we navigate how to continue to enlighten, educate, uplift and support the black community I am highlighting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, especially my alma mater VSU, as well as organizations that support them.
4 things you can do to show your support:
- Join the national alumni association of your alma mater
- Invest in HBCUs
- Talk about them; create and continue a positive narrative
- Support them even if you didn’t attend one and uplift them even if you didn’t attend that specific one. I attend events at other HBCUs, I wear there apparel, I share their history and accomplishments. I represent all HBCUs…period
Organizations that support HBCUs:
Thurgood Marshall College Fund (https://www.tmcf.org/)
Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Publicly-supportedHBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.
The Tom Joyner Foundation (https://tomjoynerfoundation.org/)
The Tom Joyner Foundation was founded in 1998 as the brainchild of nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner. The mission of the Foundation is to support historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with scholarships, endowments and capacity-building enhancements.
The Foundation has provided necessary support to every HBCU in its 20-year history to help sustain and preserve the legacies of these valuable institutions. Through fundraising and donor development initiatives, $65 million has been raised to support more than 29,000 students attending HBCUs. Additionally, the Foundation has recommended internships, offered matching grant support, and career development to deserving students.
Support Black Colleges (https://supportblackcolleges.org/.)
SUPPORT BLACK COLLEGES IS A CLOTHING LINE WHO’S SOLE MISSION IS TO UPLIFT, INSPIRE & ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SUPPORT HBCU’S. SBC WAS FOUNDED IN 2012 BY TWO HOWARD UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WHO SAW A NEED TO SPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT THE SCHOOL THAT CHANGED THEIR LIVES. THE BRAND TOOK OFF FAST WHEN CELEBRITIES SUCH AS TEYANNA TAYLOR, MISSY ELLIOT, CHRIS PAUL, EVA MARCILLE AND MANY MORE HAVE BEEN SPOTTED ROCKING THE BRAND. EACH YEAR THE SBC TEAM EMPLOYS OVER 70 COLLEGE AMBASSADORS & GIVES THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN SCHOLARSHIPS.