HBCU Advocacy Spotlight: Dear Langston is a One-Man Band

Dear Langston is a one-man band.  Named after Langston University‘s school song, the advocacy group was founded August 29, 2010. Its founder jokes, “They made us all sing it as freshmen and its always been stuck in my head. ‘Dear Langston, Dear Langston, Dear Langston, our sons and daughters pray’ or something like that.”

He founded Dear Langston because he was homesick and realized that Langston’s fall semester was about to start up again. “I pondered where could I get university-related social media updates about what was going on and I couldn’t find anything up to standard.”

So, he decided to start providing the updates via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. He says he’s tinkered with starting a blog but that time restraints don’t allow him to do as much as he’d like to. Between the three social media networks he estimates that Dear Langston’s reach is a combined 2,000+.  Most of Dear Langston’s followers are really into Facebook but by linking Facebook to Twitter, the crossover is awesome.

The scope of Dear Langston’s readership is its alumni/student base so it needs the support of others who believe in its work. Langston is a small HBCU located in rural Oklahoma. “Clearly, it’s not one of the bigger name HBCUs, so finding positive news about LU can be a challenge.” Dear Langston hopes to change that. “I think about what I do at Dear Langston as being an advocate for all the great things that are happening at “The School on the Hill.”

Because Dear Langston doesn’t have an official tie to the University it has its own check and balance system. “While I’m still mindful of what I say, I have the ability to participate in candid conversations with students and alumni without risk, and the dialogue can become prosperous for change.”

Hardin ‘Butch’ Benjamin

So who is this one-man band? “I don’t share my personal information on the site, and I only write under the name, ‘DL.’” On Facebook and Twitter he uses a photo of Hardin “Butch” Benjamin who has been a legendary figure at LU for several decades. “Everyone recognizes him. Heck, some folks think that Butch is actually the real DL. I think it’s better that way.”  

“I’ve thought about bringing folks on, but no one’s really stepped to the plate like I’d like them too.”  He admits that he probably has his hands a bit too tight on the steering wheel. He hopes that you’ll join Dear Langston’s efforts via email at dearlangston@gmail.com or follow Dear Langston on Twitter at twitter.com/dearlangston or fan Dear Langston on facebook at www.facebook.com/dearlangston.

Previous articleHomecoming Season Is Upon Us
Next articleOn Suggestion
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.