Mr. Claflin 2011-2012 Jordan Corburn, standing at left, discusses his experience of attending an HBCU as President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, seated at far right, listens on during the National HBCU Week Kick-off celebration.
Claflin University launched its celebration of National HBCU Week Wednesday with a few testimonials from students who told the story of why they choose to attend a historically black university.
“I am honored to be a student at the nation's best HBCU – Claflin University,” said Cari Tindall, president of the Student Activities Board.
Tindall said being a student at Claflin has given her a sense of identify and an understanding of her heritage. She was one of several speakers at the kick-off ceremony engaging the National HBCU Week theme“HBCUs: Engaging the World Anew.”
The University annually organizes events to celebrate and promote Claflin and other HBCUs. National recognition of HBCUs began under the administration of former President Jimmy Carter. President Barack Obama proclaimed the week of Sept. 17 – 24 as National HBCU Week.
In addition to the kick-off celebration, the University also held a program titled “Why an HBCU?” featuring Rev. Dr. Caesar Richburg, a 1972 graduate of Claflin.
Mr. Claflin 2011-2012 Jordan Corburn said he attended an HBCU because the institutions “serve as a gateway to better future for African-Americans.”
Student Government Association President Marcus Howard said the University has instilled a sense of pride and accomplishment in him. “I will never forget these cherished moments,” he told the audience of his Claflin experience.
“I am proud to attend an HBCU. There was a time when the idea of a black college was just a dream,” said Miss Claflin 2011-2012 Leighann Black.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale told students when he was their age African-Americans had no other choice than to attend an HBCU because other institutions refused to admit people of color.
Tisdale noted a litany of accomplished people were graduates of HBCUs including the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the late U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry and former S.C. Supreme Court Justice Ernest Finney, a 1952 graduate of Claflin.
“Think of these institutions as national treasures,” Tisdale said of the nation's 105 HBCUs.