Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

An Ode To Spelman College From a Morehouse Brother

Yesterday, April 11th, was Spelman College’s Founder’s Day. On April 11th, 1881, the beginnings of what has become a shining star of Black America saw its inception. And I, for one, am thankful that the founders saw fit to create this institution of higher learning that has honestly done almost as much for me as my own alma mater, Morehouse College.

Wrote a song about it; like to hear it, hear it go.

I did not go to Morehouse College because of its history or legacy. I went to Morehouse because one of my best friends in high school told me that he got a scholarship and that I should apply because with my test scores and GPA, etc, I’d probably get one too, and if we both went, we could be roommates (we were). Also because of A Different World. To say that I put a ton of thought into where I was going to college would be the equivalent of saying Tyrese thinks before he speaks. I applied to lots of schools and got into them all and got scholarships to most, but because I (and my sister) were only like the 2nd and 3rd people in our family going to college – my father was in the military and taking classes and would eventually graduate from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville (Normal), Alabama – there weren’t a lot of convos in my household about the particulars of college. It was all, just “go to college.” Honestly, I don’t even remember conversations centered around graduating from college; going to college was the accomplishment.

Either way, I applied, got me one of them there scholarships and pretty much decided then that I was going. It helped that when I told people I was going to Morehouse, specifically in Black circles, I was met with lots of celebration and “another fine Morehouse Man” type accolades. Oddly, and even though my mother’s side of the family is largely centered a SOLID 10 minutes from the Atlanta University Center, Morehouse and Spelman may as well have been in another state. I spent all my time on the far west side of Atlanta between Adamsville, Bowen Homes, Center Hill, and Zone 4. Shout-outs to MLK Blvd, Peyton Place, SW, and Hightower MARTA station.

Anyway, I had the good fortune to be invited to a pre-freshman summer program called Center of Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, which as the title suggests, was created for those us majoring in one of those disciplines granting us an advanced start on our classwork. It is there that I met the people on the Morehouse side who are now (save for my boy that came to college with me from high school) my best friends in life, god parents to my chirrens, and effectively couldn’t be closer without being blood brothers.

It is ALSO where I was introduced to Spelman College.

Hear this, and hear this good: Spelman College is just different. The first time I ventured onto the campus during that summer program, life changed. I’m pretty sure I heard angels sing the second I stepped through those gates, those beautiful, necessary Spelman gates. Shouts to AJ and the the mythical rubber bullets.

Those angels never quite stopped singing for me. Spelman introduced me to more impressive, intelligent, interesting, engaging, beautiful (as a people), and challenging women than I’d ever encountered in life, many of whom I have the grand pleasure of calling friends and family today. They’re bad bad. The women I met at Spelman, both through my time at Morehouse and through my life since graduating, have absolutely made me a better person, in nearly every way. That’s not to say that I haven’t made mistakes; Spelman is magic, but it ain’t a miracle worker. But the type of women that gathered under the Spelman banner, at least in my own life, have been the type that I’ve always wanted to be around because I knew that my life was better that way.

And this isn’t to say that I haven’t had similar experiences with women from other institutions, but as a collective, women from Spelman are exceptional, to the point where I’m genuinely happy and proud to meet a woman from Spelman. Every woman I know from Spelman isn’t perfect, nor should I expect that. It would be unreasonable. But my impression of women from Spelman through my experiences has led me to view the institution, its mission, its ability to execute its mission, and its students and graduates as being the embodiment of Black excellence.

My own daughter is a SpelHouse baby, and I can’t envision her going anywhere else. Which is curious because I can see my sons at other institutions than Morehouse, though it would be my sincerest desire for them to attend my alma mater, and stay in my dorm room, White Hall 126.

I know some men who personally don’t feel about Spelman the way that I do and veer towards negativity that I don’t understand. And that’s okay because the women I had the pleasure of encountering and knowing had such a positive impact on my own life that the reverence I hold for Spelman and her graduates will always be high enough to cover anybody who thinks otherwise. Shoot, I even attempted to double major in French JUST to take all of my classes at Spelman, a plan derailed by the one class I took at Morris Brown College which took place in the professors office because, and I mean no shade by this, Morris Brown’s CAR AIN’T HAVE NO ROOF! Seriously, the professor’s office was in a classroom separated by a partition. And because I was already in the 400 level classes as a freshman, this professor and our lack of class and that walk to Morris Brown were going to be part of my life for four years so I was like #bishwhet and #naw before hashtags were a thing.

So I just took some acting classes instead. Cross registration at Spelman was just another Tuesday for me and my life. It’s partially why I’ve been out and about in DC and run into somebody who graduated from school when I did who remembers me…from Spelman. And you know what, I’m proud of that.

So to Spelman College and her students and alumnae, I praise thy name too. I always have and always will.

Shouts to Abby, HH, Packard, and LLCs 1 and 2, Morehouse-James, Sage McAlpin, Manley, Laura Spelman, and all of those Fridays spent at Lower Manley lying on credit card applications, eating Chik-Fil-A, and generally just chillin’ because it felt like what we all thought college was supposed to feel like.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • CrankUpThe_AC

    My girlfriend went to Spelman. She’s dope. So are her friends. I’m just gonna assume they’re all dope lol

    • AKA The Sauce

      My best friend married one and most of the bridesmaids were Spelman grads. That was a fun weekend….and we had dope conversations.

    • panamajackson

      I think that’s a strong assumption.

    • BrothasKeeper

      NO! I saw his Unsung recently, and he didn’t look right. I was hoping he wasn’t sick, but………wow. RIP.

    • Holy Room

      Omgg!!!!!’ NO!!!!

    • Wyldeflower

      Whaaat?

    • Spicy Kas

      Fuucccckkk

    • I_AmU

      R.I.P. Mr. Charlie Murphy. He fought hard against Leukemia.

  • BrothasKeeper

    Shout out to my ole regular-a$$ PWI *sulks*.

    • CrankUpThe_AC

      I feel you ( . .)

    • Val

      We still lub you, Man. :-)

    • Carolina was still rather black for a white school.

      • Yeah, NYC has plenty of PWI that are majority other races. Like Brooklyn college is majority black. Queens College is majority Asian.

        • I think I heard Desus mention that about Queens College a while back. My cousin went to LIU Brooklyn back in the day. I need to ask her the make up of the school.

        • Val

          Baruch college used to have a large Black population too. Not sure about now.

          • I_AmU

            Medgar Evers’ is still representing.

            • Zuri Robinson

              Medgar Evers is thought of among my fellow college-bound New Yorkers as the “bad” CUNY. The average student has a 3-digit SAT score or barely over 1000. Nobody really wants to go there ?

              • I_AmU

                You can learn anywhere if you want to. Everyone is not a stellar, stand out student.

                • Zuri Robinson

                  With the way things are at elite institutions, even the stand out students don’t stand out so much. We may all end up going to Medgar Evers. I’m just saying that calling that the “black CUNY” isn’t all that great.

      • BrothasKeeper

        You are correct. Not to mention Allen and Benedict were right down the street. Many a weekend well spent.

        • Mr. Mooggyy

          NC schools are interesting because you have a mix of PWIs and HBCUs in the same vicinity Which, more than likely, they all party together!

          • Val

            Yeah, I hung out a Bennett college a bit and they hung out with UNC-G folks some.

            • Bennett, huh? I see the game, Val.

              • Val

                It was always a nice little weekend get-a-way. :-)

                • I bet you were like a pig in slop.

                  • Val

                    Lol

                    • miss t-lee

                      Val you was pimping huh? You can tell us the truth…lol

                    • Val

                      Lol Nah. More like falling in and out of puppy love.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Ahhh!

                    • Mr. Mooggyy

                      I though about going to Georgia for school. I probably would have had a few illegitimate kids had I done so!

          • I_AmU

            DC is like that too. I would study at Georgetown’s library on Sundays cause Howard’s undergrad library was a get together during the ’80’s. DC has American U, Catholic U, George Washington U, Gallaudet U (the only university for the deaf/hearing impaired) and others in and outside the beltway. DC was Chocolate City so I partied with the people. It’s not like that now. That’s why I’m paying a grip for to stay in DC for my daughter’s graduation. Even the hotels in MD and VA are overpriced this time of year.

            • Mr. Mooggyy

              Oh I know! I did my P. Diddy stint at Howard (not as successful though)! Errry-Body partied with Howard! Talk about shutting a city down during homecoming!?!?!

              Edit: Local hotel prices are some BS. I try to plan a staycation (away from the house) and look at them hotel prices. ……I’m good! *sits back on the couch and watches Netflix*

              • I_AmU

                LMBO! I scooped up a deal and am staying on Massachusetts Ave. which is embassy row. Yeah Howard is party central but it gives you the rope to hang yourself. They’ll place you on academic probation faster than you can see that 45th is orange.

              • TheUnsungStoryteller

                I want to go to Howard homecoming!!!

        • Val

          Didn’t they merge a few years back?

          • They are still separate entities.

            • Val

              Okay. Could have sworn I read something about them merging. Or maybe it was two other HBCUs?

      • BJenks

        For real, something I didn’t realize other PWIs was only having like less than 5% blacks until after I graduated. I remember hearing folk say that we were graduating more black than Benedict…prolly a gross exaggeration though.

        • Val

          Maybe not. A whole lot of Black folks graduate from HBCUs.

          • BJenks

            Right. I know some are small in number and I don’t know their graduation rates, but I’d still put my money on an HBCU graduating more of us than your avg PWI.

            • bray_tusk91

              According to Dr.Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans. HBCU’s graduate more black students who receive pell grant than PWI’s.

              He said that his graduation rate at Dillard University for students receiving pell grants is higher than those same type of students at LSU. If finances help to predict graduation rates then HBCU’s are out performing many PWI’s

              • BJenks

                yeah we we outchea graduating in hella debt cause the PWIs aint trying to help to many of us.

            • Old Head

              PWI only have us for the athlete’s in B-Ball and football. The always leave early chasing the dead presidents

            • fhsmct

              %wise, you’re probably correct

        • Geoffrey

          As a USC Trojan, I must insist you clarify your comment refers to the “other” USC.

          Fight On

        • DG

          In any given year, that’s quite likely. USC’s blk population is generally 10% or higher…out of 30,000+ students, that’s at least 3000 blk students…Im not sure Allen and Benedict combined have a total enrollment of 3000, so yeah…A good chance that USC puts out more blk grads than either.

          • fhsmct

            Benedict averages 3000+/- yr, Carolina”s total enrollment 33,000+/- w/ 27.9% Black sooooo 9207 Black students, thus, yep, Carolina probably graduates more.
            Also, factor in that Benedict has talented students that, because they come from school systems lacking, USA won’t touch. Many of those students, when provided OPPORTUNITY, perform, excel & suceed! . . .

            • DG

              Not disagreeing with the education Benedict provides (Parents are Benedict alums, so yeah)…my comment was simply that it’s a tiny school in comparison to SC, so not surprised it puts out less blk graduates

              • fhsmct

                : – )

        • fhsmct

          I’m a SC native, I got accepted to USC but chose NOT to attend because the acceptance was in the School of General Studies. I was also accepted at USAFA, West Point, Morehouse & 2 Ivys. Did a yr & 1/2 @ West Point be transferring to & graduating from Morehouse.
          I was invited to visit USC and visited the honors pgm, the nursing & biology depts but: General Studies?! When I called, they said “maybe you can change when you get here” to which I replied “maybe your won’t see me!” . . .

          • BJenks

            Haha General Studies? I have never heard of such. They tried to get one of my boys with some foolishness. They told him he was accepted but would have to be on academic probation from the jump, so he was like yall can miss me with that nonsense.

        • fhsmct

          PS when you have an enrollment of 33,000 (USC) vs 3000 (Benedict), chances are you’re goin to have more Black students and thus more Black graduates. Also factor in that most of Benedict”s students probably come from more dire fiscal circumstances than the average Benedict student so successful matriculation is going to be different!

          • BJenks

            Yeah, I wasn’t sure on their enrollment numbers but I figured that if it was a considerably small school then that would be a valid assumption.

      • DG

        Yeah…SC I think may have the highest% blk enrollment in the SEC. GA Southern has high numbers of us too.

        • When I was a kid I thought GSU was an HBCU because I knew a ton of people who crossed the river to go there.

          • DG

            It kinda makes sense that GSU is hella black, tho…think about all the areas/counties surrounding Statesboro on both sides…Allendale, Hampton, Beaufort counties on SC side…Screven, Bulloch, Burke, etc. on the other.

      • Hammster

        Yeah, mostly black women though which is an excellent thing.

      • Old Head

        was I the only one that just found out that Georgetown was a PWI

        • I heard Bomani talking about that a few weeks ago. I never did but I heard it was a thing.

    • ThatJerseyGirl

      Ditto. And I’m ridiculously proud of my alma mater, but it doesn’t get the same kinda love that some of the HBCUs do.

    • panamajackson

      I’m sure it was a lovely place.

      • Roz

        That was sweet…in a “bless your heart” kind of way.

      • BrothasKeeper

        *squinting* That text looks condescending. I’m e-hurt.

    • My graduate degree is from a PWI, but I never talk or donate to them.

      It ain’t the same…. but it was “lovely-ish.”

      *sips tea*

    • Spicy Kas

      Same. I have donated exactly $0.00000 to my Alma Mater since graduating and attended 0.000000000 reunions.

      • Hammster

        Yep. That’s my story and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.If I donate anything it would be towards a scholarship or foundation that assists minority (particularly black) students.

        • Carlettaghicks

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj156:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !mj156:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash156HomeCoolGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!mj156:….,……

        • Rosejjackson

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sw237c:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !sw237c:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs527NetworkBetterGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!sw237c:….,……

      • Zil Nabu

        I’ve given money to both of my PWIs and been to 1 grad school reunion. I earmark my donations for the Black stuff on campus (scholarships, Africana Studies, Ujamaa Program House, etc.)

      • SororSalsa

        I attended a PWI for grad school (HBCU undergrad), and those folks will never get a penny of my money. I feel no affinity for that place, and I sometimes forget I went there. It really is just a degree to me.

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      We here.

    • My alma mater is currently the number one supplier of female participants on sugar baby dot com. So there’s that.

      • That’s a volatile market

        • I’m just wondering why it wasn’t around when I was in undergrad.

          • you wasn’t hustlin hard enough.

        • LOL!

          Hard out here…

          • miss t-lee

            Literally.

            • Those trips to Dubai may be free but YOU WILL PAY!

              • miss t-lee

                I ain’t got the stomach for that game man…

              • Brass Tacks

                I laugh because I’ve heard this expressed more than once but whats so bad about Dubai?

                • Do your Googles, Brassy cause I don’t feel comfortable expounding on my work PC.

                  • Brass Tacks

                    Heard.

      • miss t-lee

        Welp.

      • BrothasKeeper

        That’s something to hang your hat on!

    • miss t-lee

      I ain’t got nothing to add with my school of hard knocks degree.
      *snickering*

      • Epsilonicus

        Most practical and useful degree there is.

        • miss t-lee

          LOL You ain’t told no lies.

      • Old Head

        best degree I ever had

        • miss t-lee

          I can dig it.

    • Valerie

      Meh after a while I stopped caring that I didn’t attend an HBCU, so long as I graduated. Ya’ll know my story lol

      • Epsilonicus

        Right. You can make anywhere work if you do it right.

    • PinkRose

      None of my PWIs is regular and I do give to 2 of them. I also do recruitment for those 2.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      *Fists up halfheartedly.

  • I don’t regret graduating from the College of Staten Island, but Morehouse and Hampton were my dream schools. I wonder how life would of turned out for me if I attended one of those two.

    My sister in law is a proud Spelman graduate.

  • “My own daughter is a SpelHouse baby, and I can’t envision her going
    anywhere else. Which is curious because I can see my sons at other
    institutions than Morehouse”

    This is interesting because I feel the same way. If I had a daughter I would want her to be a Spelman woman. Morehouse just seems like a bad look for my imaginary son.

    • panamajackson

      You know what it is? I don’t think Morehouse is a bad look, but its more practical. If my sons are athletes, like topshelf level athletes, I’d probably be more interested in them going to a college that could foster that because they’re going to be smart anyway. But also, I love Morehouse, and my boys mother went to Howard.

      This might sound blasphemous, but I’m just gon’ say it, a lot of Morehouse dudes seem way less “cool” than cats who to go Howard. The inverse holds true for Spelman. I think Spelman women are way cooler than Howard women. Now, I will push for my boys to go to Morehouse, but if they find something more suiting for them, I’m not sure I’d admonish them for it either. I hope at least one goes because I know what I got out of going there and its very replicable.

      • Val

        What if your daughter is an athlete? Sadly, no more inter-collegiate sports at Spelman.

        • panamajackson

          Ah, that’s right. I forgot about that. Well if she’s a baller and wants to go to UConn or something, I would encourage her to follow her dreams and let her talents lead her where they may.

          • Val

            Make me a little sad. I wonder how many prospective students we’ve lost because of that?

          • Here’s to hoping Vivian Stringer can hold on a few years. Jussayin’

      • I guess it’s because I’ve had some irritating experiences with Morehouse men. Some of those dudes are so pretentious. I was at HCASC one year and dude had on a smoking jacket by the hotel pool. The Morehouse team was doing the most.

        • Val

          Lol @ smoking jacket by the pool

          • Sis it was ridiculous. It was chilly in Orlando but we were like “these ni@@as”.

        • panamajackson

          There are some absolutely insanely pretentious dbags that go to all schools, but morehouse seems to almost encourage it at times. i graduated with some of them.

      • bray_tusk91

        You know us Tuskegee dudes always considered ourselves so much cooler than you Morehouse dudes ;-)

        My daughters were not trying to even consider attended Tuskegee and living in the country.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    There’s a certain prestige about folks who graduate from Howard, Hampton, Morehouse and Spelman! A few arrogant ones, but mostly prestige!

    • Val

      Fisk used to be in that group. My oldest sister attended Fisk and a few cousins. I don’t hear much about it anymore.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        There and Tuskegee. You would think being one of the oldest HBCUs would carry clout. I just saw a stat that Fisk’s enrollment in 2015 was 835.

        • Val

          Wow. That makes me sad.

      • Holy Room

        Val. You have a sister. I’ve always though of you as being an only child? Did you wish her happy national siblings day yesterday?

        • Val

          Nope. Not an only child.

  • Wyldeflower

    When Panama writes a love letter, as I call certain articles written thus far, it always reads sincere and heartfelt. Just fab!

    • panamajackson

      Why, thank you!

  • Brass Tacks

    I stayed off Greensferry (Castleberry Hills) so the AUC was literally an opening in the neighborhood fence away. As teenagers my brother and I would sometimes walk onto Spelman Campus, just to gawk at all the beautiful minds walking all through that joint, and tried our hardest to act like we belonged (we didn’t).

    In addition to that a lot of the upper classmen lived in our complex so that positive energy was always around.

    Morehouse and Spelman represents to me what Howard University is to people in the DMV area. They are much more than educational institutions. They are a way of life. Prestigous institutions round my neck of the woods that are really in and about their communities.

    And man them ladies were bad.

    F.I.L.A.

    • AKA The Sauce

      *daps*

    • panamajackson

      Yes they were bad. and still are. always.

  • Brass Tacks

    I got my daughters Spelman sweaters for Christmas.

    Cause Daddy ain’t paying for them to attend nowhere else.

    • Val

      If I had a daughter she could definitely go to any college she wanted, as long as it was Spelman. :-)

      Side note: And I’m always like, really? When I see that spellcheck doesn’t know about Spelman.

      • Brass Tacks

        That annoys the fcuk outta me. Autocorrect better put some respeck on HBCUs names.

        Also, they can go to Emory, Tech or Agnes Scott and I wouldn’t be upset.

        But I do hope their initial four years are at Spelman.

        • grownandsexy2

          Look, we got high school counselor out here that don’t know what a HBCU is, much less Spelman so what can we expect from autocorrect?

      • Do you want a daughter?

        • Brass Tacks

          She does.

        • Val

          The concept of having a daughter is a very attractive one.

          • well you’re very young so you can always adopt or one of you two can have a pregnancy

      • I_AmU

        Val, why are you surprised? It only knows Howard cause it recognizes it as a name for a mediocre wypipo person (I refuse to say/type man). I’m petty and real at the same time ?

  • BJenks

    That’s love.

    • BrothasKeeper

      Black love.

      • AKA The Sauce

        Stank love.

        • NonyaB?

          Crunk love.

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