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The News & Politics Editor’s Reflection 

Daquan Lawrence finishes up his third year with The Hilltop. (Nolan Baynes II/The Hilltop)

My time with The Hilltop was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am eternally grateful for. As a Harlem, New York native, I have been interested in Zora Neale Hurston’s work for as long as I can remember, as the ethos of Pan-Africanism and pro-Black consciousness was instilled in me at a very young age. 

Unbeknownst to me, years later, I would grow to have several commonalities with one of The Hilltop’s revered founders, as I also matriculated at Morgan State University. Although Hurston’s path to Howard differs from mine, like Zora, I also studied at Howard during my early 30s. As one who deeply believes in destiny rather than coincidence, I now understand that “it was written” (as they say) in the stars for me to eventually become a Howard Bison and to write for The Hilltop.

I enjoyed writing every story, editing and working with all of my colleagues. I enjoyed every late night and early morning, and I especially loved meeting new people and conducting interviews to produce stories. Ultimately, I believe my tenure with The Hilltop allowed me to actually be seen. As a human rights activist that has traveled around the world and advocated for various humanitarian causes, nothing raised my public profile more than my role(s) at Howard University. 

I would like to say a very special ‘thank you’ to Zora Neale Hurston and Eugene King for establishing the number one collegiate newspaper in the world at Howard University 100 years ago. The legacy of The Hilltop is second to none, and this is evident based on Howard’s status as a premier historically Black college and university, which has traditionally accomplished more with less resources than its counterpart institutions.

Thank you, Ashleigh Fields, for choosing me to join The Hilltop staff during the 2021-2022 academic school year as an African studies doctoral student. I am sincerely grateful for your belief in me. 

Thank you to Jasper Smith and N’dia Webb for allowing me to continue writing for the greatest collegiate newspaper in the world. It has been an honor to serve alongside you both. Witnessing the growth of The Hilltop staff is very significant to me, and I believe your leadership has been phenomenal.

Thank you to Darreonna Davis and JD Jean-Jacques, who served as my editors during my time working as a reporter long before I was selected to serve as the editor for the News & Politics section. Darreonna, thank you for having faith in me and believing that I could follow in your footsteps as an editor. JD, thank you for pushing me to grow as a writer and reporter during my first year on staff. 

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I would like to issue a very special ‘thank you’ to my mother, family and teachers for showing me the importance of education and writing. More importantly, thank you to my daughter, Destiny Lawrence, for having patience with me and sharing her time, which is already divided due to multiple commitments as an educator, journalist, researcher and graduate student. If there is one thing that my daughter knows about her father outside of the fact that she is the center of my universe, it is that her father loves reading and writing. After attending multiple editor’s meetings with us in The Hilltop’s office, and countless virtual meetings throughout the past three years, one of my proudest moments was when my four-year-old daughter said she wants to write for The Hilltop. The feeling is still unexplainable…

Finally, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the News and Politics team, Mr. Keith Alexander – who has helped me grow as a writer, journalist, editor and reader during my tenure with the newspaper – as well as Howard University and The Hilltop readers! I am grateful to our 2023-2024 staff, who embraced me and my daughter, which was very special to me as a doctoral student who is a single father.

That said – it’s been a great privilege to serve Howard University and the HBCU community as a member of The Hilltop, which is indeed the best college newspaper in the world…

DaQuan Lawrence

2023-2024 News and Politics Editor

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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