My narrative is similar to that of Presidents Barak Obama and Bill Clinton, as I am the product of a single parent household. But my mother and my extended family, grandparents, uncles and aunts helped to ensure I lived a full and meaningful life as a child and young adult. My father stated he wanted no part in my rearing, yet the men in my family made sure I knew what it was to be a man. They, my grandfather and uncles, threw a football with me, taught me to tie a tie, talked my through the challenges of adolescence and informed me of the familial, cultural, religious and civic responsibilities of the African American man.
As I began to consider institutions of higher education, I found myself intrinsically attracted to educational institutions that valued African American men and expressed a concrete commitment to improving society as evidenced in their mission and vision statements and core values. After weighing the pros and cons of a number of institutions, I decided Morehouse College was best for me.
While it has been more than twenty years since I graduated from Morehouse, I vividly recall my experiences, especially those that grew and developed me into a religious man and leader. I can look back on my experiences and the significant and concrete indicators of progress in America as I recount the experiences I heard and witnesses and heard.
Yet, something is still missing.
With a seeming myriad of opportunities before us, to African Americans, the “American Dream”, is simply a dream deferred as the population is relegated to the fringe of American life. In the social, political and economic fringe are disparities in overall health, high incarceration rates, poor education and lack of financial literacy. We are in a time where people are crying out for true leadership.
HBCUs are growing and developing these leaders.
HBCUs continue to emphasize the importance of critical thinking about parochial, national, subjective, objective, qualitative and quantitative issues, they will remain as real and relevant options for students seeking to further their education and educators and administrators seeking to contribute to the growth and vitality of the nation.
For over 150 years, historically black institutions like Morehouse College and Fisk University have produced leaders seeking to address the plight of African Americans. HBCUs nurture great researchers and practitioners in various fields of study, but they are more than just education centers. They are places of healing. Healing for those who have been told and shown they are not enough. These institutions present younger and seasoned African Americans the opportunity to experience the power of the extended Black family; an institution that has survived the degradation of slavery as it continues to contribute to the holistic development of all persons.
I am convinced HBCUs will continue to grow and develop renaissance men and women who will display excellence, energy, leadership, and compassion in civic, religious, and educational arenas. I will remain committed to HBCUs because I believe the future of the African American community is dependent on the success of these diverse and distinct institutions.
Jason R. Curry, PhD currently serves as the Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University. He is a licensed and ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC). A Morehouse man, Curry also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Harvard Divinity School and in 2005 he completed his doctoral degree studies at Vanderbilt University. Curry is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and he is also a Connecting Link. Curry is married to Angela and they are the proud parents of three children, John, Nia, and Samuel. Stay connected with him on Facebook at Fisk Chapel.