Happy King Day! On Blackness and Beauty

Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage; as somebody said earlier tonight, we don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black, ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word ‘black.’ It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word, ‘white.’ It’s always some pure, high and. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes I’m black and I’m proud of it. I’m black and I’m beautiful.’

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Morehouse  College ’48 | Human and Civil Rights Activist + Nobel Peace Prize Recipient | #HBCUSTORY

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A historian and storyteller whose research interests include black higher education and college student activism, DR. CRYSTAL A. deGREGORY is a research fellow at Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A graduate of the historic Fisk, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee State universities, she is a passionate Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate, convener of the HBCUstory Symposium, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. Follow her online at @HBCUstorian.