HBCU Alums Share Why They’re So Passionate About Homecoming
By DeAnna Taylor
It’s homecoming season! If you’re on any form of social media, then you’ve probably seen at least a dozen posts from people gearing up to attend their alma mater’s homecoming festivities.
While nearly every college and university across the nation has some sort of homecoming, there’s nothing quite like the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) homecoming experience. It’s like a big family reunion.
The multi-day series of events usually include pep rally’s, parties, an epic tailgate, band performances, and the homecoming football game. People schedule time off from work months in advance for the events.
Any alum will proudly tell you their HBCU has the best homecoming. North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) even coined their celebration GHOE, which stands for the Greatest Homecoming On Earth. Each year, HBCU Buzz takes a poll of the top HBCU homecoming festivities. In past years, NCAT, Alabama State, and Prairie View A&M have taken top honors.
Despite busy schedules, growing families, and even distance, an HBCU homecoming is not something that can be missed. People travel from far and wide to attend, including people who may not have graduated from the school.
Jesse Owens, an alum of Norfolk State University and Director of Product at Mastercard, plans at least three months in advance to attend his homecoming.
When asked why he’s so passionate about homecoming, Owens said, “Homecoming is that time of the year where you relive traditions that reconnect you to the very things that made you fall in love with your alma mater. The sense of community during homecoming exemplifies some of the key tenets on why HBCUs were established when African Americans had no other option to seek formal university education. Given the contentious times we live in today, homecoming is one of the few cultural experiences where you can be your authentic self while feeling connected to the intellectual and spiritual roots of the university.”
Domineke Nelson, a graduate of Winston Salem State Univerity (WSSU), travels to homecoming each year. “I love my school with everything in me! WSSU truly made me the person I am today. The connections that I have made are some that will for sure last me a lifetime,” Nelson told Travel Noire. “I couldn’t imagine not returning every year to celebrate with the people I love, at the place I love! Then the feeling of being in a sea of black excellence, with folks who came far before my time & the ones coming after me is almost indescribable.”
“Quiet” Ray, an alum of NCAT, takes the trip from New York to attend his alma mater’s homecoming in North Carolina. “A&T’s homecoming is really like a family reunion for me. I genuinely like and enjoy just seeing people that I went to school with still ALIVE and doing well. Life can be short, so it’s just a really good feeling seeing everyone and celebrating your Alumni’s success. “
“Attending an HBCU homecoming is like attending a family reunion. For a short period of time you are teleported back to your days on the yard. If you didn’t attend an HBCU its kind of hard to put it into words. Literally, you just had to be there,” @mohaganys_mom shared with Travel Noire via Instagram.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.