Black students at Harvard University are holding their own graduation ceremony away from white students in what BET says is “the first of its kind” and “took nearly a year to plan.”
One of the graduates who helped plan the blacks-only graduation, Michael Huggins, said, “This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance. 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.”
However, Huggins ensures this segregated event is anything but segregation:
“This is not about segregation. 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.”
The BET notes that Harvard reports a 96% graduation rate for its black students “who remain in school for an average of six years.” This ceremony is modeled after blacks-only ceremonies held at Stanford, Temple, and Columbia.
Another black graduate, Courtney Woods, told The Root, “Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students. There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming.”
Over 125 graduate students are registered for the ceremony and were able to raise $27,000 to cover the costs and a reception. The Root notes:
The ceremony, which will focus on graduate students, comes at a time when the experiences of many black students, undergraduate and grad, on college campuses in America have been marked by incidents of overt racism, microaggressions, passive racist comments, and the marginalization of minority experiences in both reading assignments and learning materials.
Remember, kids, there is no “overt racism” in segregating as long as it’s not a whites-only ceremony.