Reflection on Charter Day

Courtesy of Getty Images

By Justin Cohen, Staff Writer
Posted 3:00 AM EST, Sat., March 4, 2017

Howard University is one of the most important things in my life. When I first came to this school, I didn’t know just how great it was. I was just excited to go to a school with some name recognition, and I was hungry to start my life and career after school. But the first time I stood in a crowded room with “Lift Every Voice and Sing” bouncing off of the walls, surrounded by Black excellence and Black fists in the air, that’s when I put mine up and knew Howard was more than just any university.

I wanted to be involved in this community more than I ever wanted to be involved in anything before. Howard wasn’t just a school to me anymore…I knew from the first time I heard that Black National Anthem sung by hundreds of Black voices, that this school would forever be a part of my life.

It is through this university that I was first able to engage in any sort of meaningful discourse regarding my race. I spoke to people who read more than me, who are experienced more than me, people who challenged me to see things a certain way and to think about things I never thought about before. If not for any of this, who knows how far behind I would be in my intellectual and spiritual growth.

It is because of this that I know that I will be back on this campus when I’m old and gray, sitting under the shade of the Caribbean tree, reflecting on the beauty of it all. And there’s so much beauty. On March 2, 150 years ago, when Howard University was chartered and the social and political temperament at the time was that we would become nothing, we were then allowed to become something that no one ever thought we would be; and we not only lived, but we thrived in the space we occupied, and that’s amazing. When I came here I didn’t even know that it was called the Mecca, now I see why it is.