I knew early on that I wanted to attend a HBCU. In fact, the only non-HBCU I truly considered was Florida State University in Tallahassee, which ironically I would soon learn housed the Rattlers of Florida A&M University, more affectionally known as FAMU. My Junior and Senior years of high school I participated in a Black College Tour provided by a community member. This man would take high school juniors and seniors to tour the Black Colleges and Universities of Atlanta and the east coast, specifically Howard and Hampton University. I initially fell in love with Morehouse College and Howard University but in the pit of my stomach I knew my parents couldn’t afford it and in my mind, they were far too expensive.
After returning home from the Washington DC/Howard trip of my Senior year I decided that I needed to refocus my college decision to a state school. In the state of Texas, there were only 2 schools I seriously considered attending, Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University. During the summers of my adolescent years, I spent a large part of my time at my grandparents rural home in Marshall, Texas. During the summers I grew to love the night life of living in the “country”, the sounds, smells, and stars. Prairie View was my choice!
I remember during my Sophomore year of high school touring Prairie View on what is referred to as Pantherland Day. On Pantherland Day, before and during my tenure on the hill the Theatre Department put on a sketch based show that took you a performance-based tour of all the academic opportunities the university provided. That day left a very impressionable stain on my mind. In my early development, I always loved a great story. In kindergarten, I received an award for “best story”. I can’t tell you what I wanted to convey but at my mother’s house, there is a laminated document that has a green sheet of construction paper, a white sheet of paper on top and an image of what appears to be Superman. As an adolescent, I began to grow fond of and pen my own poetry. During my senior year of high school, I began writing a feature, a terrible feature, which I never finished that lead me to decide to follow my heart and declare theater as my collegiate major.
During high school, I never joined the theater club, never learned a monologue, never performed anything in front of anyone that was not a church audience, but my heart was drawn to the stage. My journey began! One of the first people to introduce the history of the University, City, and County of which I resided while in college was Mayor Frank Jackson.
During my matriculation, I joined the NAACP and was voted Vice-President of the college campus, in addition to the Texas State NAACP Youth and College Division 2nd Vice President. While serving, I was privileged to have been involved in the planning, execution and physical journey of marching on Waller County they infringed upon our voting rights.
I could go on and on about my beautiful experience while at Prairie View A&M University; however, I’ll finish up with this statement. I certainly had a choice of schools to attend, I was not limited to only HBCU’s but I am certainly glad I chose to attend Prairie View. My experience there reminded me that although my antecedents fought and survived the tumultuous 60’s, the fight was still alive and thriving. With the tenure of “45” upon us this fight will only ratchet up even with his fraudulent meeting that yielded a great photo-op that suggested, “hey I’m not racist, I met with the Blacks”.
For more information on Prairie View, see the information below: