HBCU Alums: Renewing A Sense Of Purpose On And Off The Field

(CBS) — All around town Friday, it was hard not to notice the school pride from alums of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

That includes Shevaz Freeman from Florida A & M University, who says her school is “the highest of the seven hills.”

William Bryant was there for his school.

“I got my Cubs hat on and this is from Grambling State I am representing,” he says.

At a Wrigley Field meet-and-greet before a Cubs game they spoke about what makes the schools something special.

“You get a kind of nourishment that in the ‘real world’ you might not get,” says Kyle Santillian of Winston-Salem State University.

But as they celebrate their friendships, and successes, there are troubling moments on their minds, according to Freeman.

“We have come a long way, but there is so much farther to go,” she said.

The summer’s racially toned neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville, and what some call less than adequate original response form the White House, have them talking about a reinvigorated sense of purpose.

Rev. Julian DeShazier of Morehouse College says: “Building up people, building up communities — it’s always been about more than an education.”

“We are almost a symbol of overcoming the obstacles we face today,” Santillian adds.

“Can you imagine starting a school in rural Louisiana in 1901? It was difficult,” says President Rick Gallot, president of Grambling State University.

He said he tries to address student concerns by reminding them of the challenges of their predecessors.

“We will deal with this like every other crisis in 116 years. I am optimistic that this too shall pass,” Gallot says.

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