How the Black Colleges Beyonce´ Honors in Homecoming Have Played a Vital Role
Homecoming is the title of a movie starring and produced by Beyonce´ that pays tribute to the role Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) played in her life. The movie recreates her memories of attending HBCU homecoming events with her parents and is full of marching band, majorette, fraternity, and sorority dance and step routines, which she performed in the movie with actual HBCU students.
The attached article, How the Black Colleges Beyonce´ Honors in Homecoming Have Played a Vital Role in American History takes a deeper dive into how HBCUs impacted the Black community and left a permanent imprint on US history and culture. Started in 1837, these HBCUs were created to provide Black Americas with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge needed to survive within a democratic free-market society and thereby became the home base for the development of Black culture in America.
Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back former students and members and celebrating an organization’s existence. It is a tradition in high schools, colleges, and churches in the United States and Canada.
But for Black Americans, who were, legally and forcefully deprived of any connections to their place of origin (Africa), these HBCU homecoming events take on a much deeper meaning. These homecoming events are more comparable to a US immigrant citizen, (which we all are) returning to their native country.
Therefore, more is at stake regarding the maintenance of HBCU homecoming traditions, the HBCUs, and their surrounding communities. These institutions provided the space for the free development of Black people and their culture in America. At stake is the survival of Black American culture and the Black community within America.
A compelling argument for preserving HBCUs for black students, despite the availability of non-HBCU options arising after the passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act can be made based on the unique space these campuses provide Black students and the black community. As the article states, “HBCUs, since then, have continued to do what they have always done: leading in the classroom, on the gridiron, and in the dynamism of their bands and majorette dance lines. And every so often, they enjoy a moment like this one, when they capture the American popular imagination with the display of their embodiment of an unapologetic and unrepentant blackness — a blackness that defies the confines of black respectability and ignores the implications of the white gaze”.
The college experience is where students undergo a process of self-discovery that serves as a transitional period from childhood to becoming an adult. The students are expected to live independently and develop a system of personal responsibility while meeting new people. In short, creating a home away from home.
The HBCU is a space that was created especially for black students to embark on this journey of self-discovery. Since their creation in 1837, HBCUs are responsible for successfully providing a place for the development of a black culture strong enough to lift the veil of ignorance from black people, while withstanding continued threats to their very existence right up until today.
So like Beyonce´, in our own way, the HBCU Community Development Corporation (HBCUCDC) is honoring HBCUs by providing our skills to all HBCUs in need of assistance on how to continue providing these spaces of homecoming for the Black community. We possess an understanding of the challenges HBCUs face in fulfilling their mission and the skills to address all aspects of the challenge.