In 1960 a student at Shaw University organized a conference to be held on campus.
This student, Ella Baker, brought together 126 other students from other schools, people like Stokely Carmichael, Marion Berry, Julian Bond, and together they formed a group called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
This little group of students from mostly small HBCUs organized and helped engineer one of the greatest societal shake-ups America has ever experienced.
Shaw itself got started when the civil war ended and a Northern Baptist loaded up his carpet bag and went to Raleigh. This minister, Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, founded the school in 1865 with a handful of emancipated students. Fast forward a few years and graduates from Shaw were sitting in the president’s chair of five other colleges.
Perhaps that number will rise. There are currently 2,800 students at Shaw. The campus is small, right downtown. I found parking in record time, walked around campus in record time, and then broke a record for the chattiest counter clerk in the school bookstore. He was a White dude.It was graduation weekend.
Moms, Dads, and lots of rowdy aunties were wandering around campus hugging everybody.
I didn’t stick around for commencement. Instead I wandered off contemplating Greyhound buses and Woolworth’s counters.