The HBCU Impact in Newark

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are major producers of Black talent and leadership that nurtured notable figures as diverse as Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jr., Kamala Harris and a great many others. That legacy of excellence can be seen amongst Newark’s leadership today, Mayor Ras Baraka (left) and West Ward City Council candidate Chigozie Onyema (right) are both graduates of Howard University, while Councilman At-Large C. Lawrence Crump (middle) is an alum of Morehouse College. The Newarker spoke with two other HBCU graduates about their college experience and how it prepared them for leadership here in Brick City, the following are their responses:

Photo by Tobias Truvillion

Lauren Craig
Marketing Director, Entrepreneur, Retired Attorney
Spelman College, English

“Going to an HBCU made me fall in love with the diversity of Black people. Although the average person probably wouldn’t know this, there is no singular Black experience. At an HBCU, the students all come from extremely different backgrounds, so it’s an education in itself just meeting and getting to know people from places you didn’t even realize that Black people lived. And yet we all shared this common ground of being Black. So when I landed in Newark, a Black and Brown city, after college, it felt like a “homecoming” to me in many ways. Even though I was not originally from here, I was able to find my common ground in the arts community especially.”

Photo courtesy of Byron Clark

Byron Clark
Director of External Relations and Advancement for the Greater Newark Convention and Visitors Bureau (GNCVB)
Howard University, Political Science

Howard University was an amazing place, and it has a strong sense of community, At Howard, students from the African Diaspora were supported and inspired, both by the administration and by their peers. The school had a great faculty and a never-ending list of inspiring speakers always coming through. Students were encouraged to make a difference in their communities and in the world.

Howard prepared me for living in Newark, and especially to be a public servant in Newark. Newark, like Howard, is very a diverse place, and also has a strong sense of community. Living in Newark for the past 16 years has enabled me to witness one of greatest urban comeback stories in recent history. I am proud to have been able to contribute to the city’s comeback. Every day, I work to spread Newark’s story around the world and to increase people’s interest in, and love of, Newark.” 

Featured image by Pexels