BY CRYSTAL A. DEGREGORY, PH.D., FISK UNIVERSITY ’03
Fresh out of undergrad at Fisk, I arrived for the first day of class in my MA/PhD program in the fall of 2003. I was brimming with confidence. I was also well-spoken, and I figured I wrote fairly well.
My curriculum vitae, however, conveyed neither these abilities nor my confidence in them. Unlike my peers from traditionally white schools I had never formally presented or published my research. It was a gaping omission . I needed to work hard and fast to play catch-up— hoping all the while to eventually pass them down.
That, seems like a lifetime ago. Back then, I felt like had the ability to do, and to conquer. An HBCU education gave me those abilities. And that’s why we convene the HBCUstory Symposium each year—we grow the confidence and ability of the HBCU community by standing in the gap.
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The HBCUstory Symposium provides opportunities for HBCU students, faculty, and researchers alike to share our work and to preserve and promote the telling of our stories — by us, for us.
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Four nationally-renowned keynote speakers, more than 70 presenters, and a couple hundred attendees later, I cannot believe that we’re approaching out fourth annual symposium. I sent out acceptance letters late yesterday: So I know it’s real.
If you’ve ever put something like this on, you know what it’s like to have sleepless nights and worry-filled days. You plan. You work. You hustle. And, you worry — you worry about everything and everyone.
But it’s worth it. It’s all worth it.
All too soon, the days we’re waiting for — October 31 and November 1 — will be here. Someone will share their research for the first time, someone else will for their umteenth time.
And before I know it, it will over again — until the next time.
Offering open-access to academicians and practitioners, the HBCUstory Symposium is the first of its kind for the nation’s HBCUs. The symposium’s collection of scholarly research and case studies outline the historic and contemporary value of HBCUs, and convenes expert voices in all subject areas. The fourth annual symposium is slated for Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2016 on the Paul Quinn College campus in Dallas, Texas. Click here to register online today.