It’s often said that “There’s no homecoming like an HBCU homecoming,” and we all agree that at SSU, the phrase rings true.
The students here have a lot to be proud of when it comes to the heritage of Savannah State. We are students and faculty of the oldest public HBCU in the state of Georgia. SSU has been host to a variety of incredible alumni such as Ernest Miller, Shannon Sharpe, Troy Hambrick, Lt. Gen.l Walter E. Gaskin, Tatia Adams and many more.
Our past alumni also had heavy political involvement, raising black consciousness on the local, state, and national levels. Between 1965 and 1967, the Savannah State University chapter of the NAACP hosted voter registration drives on and around campus in the community in order to foster civic awareness. Other students participated in peaceful protests against Savannah’s segregation policies by conducting sit-ins at eight different lunch counters in the city during the Civil Rights movement. Some historians have credited SSU’s student activism efforts as a key reason for keeping Savannah as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1964, “The most desegregated city south of the Mason-Dixon Line.”
Here at Savannah State, the community believes in being bold, proud, and seriously impressive. Part of the legacy of students is to stand up for truth, justice, and doing what’s right in the face of oppression that seems to loom in every corner of the world. The oppression includes racial oppression experienced particularly in the South and that which is directed specifically at students who attend a historically black college and/or university, an HBCU.
Why does homecoming mean so much to Savannah State? It drives home a sense of community. There’s an old proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Going together is what we do best here at SSU. A sense of community is always centered around individuals and how they interact with the world and how they identify themselves. Each person has unique gifts and talents, all of which should be celebrated.
Community is what helps the students “lift as we rise” together. Sometimes a community must rise to meet the injustices it faces and hold those in power accountable for their actions; at other times, a community must come together and celebrate the legacy of the foremothers and fathers who allow us to stand on their shoulders even now.
While we celebrate homecoming this year, remember your sense of community, where you came from, and who you are today. In order for SSU students to remain seriously impressive, students must not allow themselves to become embittered but instead use our anger against the world’s and other institutions’ oppressive actions to make the world a better place. Whether students use the written word, Tiger’s Roar, dancing, music, painting, marching, protesting, voting….whatever we do, may we as Tigers never stop standing up.
Stand tall and bold.
Let them know that we are rising.