Harvard University, founded in 1636, is set to host its first all-black graduation ceremony.
Black graduate students in Cambridge raised nearly $30,000 for a May 23 ceremony they say is long overdue. More than 120 students have registered for the Holmes Field event near Harvard Law School.
Some of the registered students spoke to The Root late last week before it was covered Monday by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community,” graduate student Michael Huggins said. “This is not about segregation. It’s about fellowship and building a community.”
Mr. Huggins will receive master’s of public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Courtney Woods, a student who will earn a master’s degree in education policy and management, framed the event as a form of racial reckoning.
“Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students,” Ms. Woods said. “There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming.”
Students will also participate in the main commencement ceremony.
Similar all-black graduations take place at institutions such as Columbia, Stanford and Temple, The Root noted.