In the 1400s, millions of slaves were taken from Africa and brought to America. They were stripped of everything that held sentimental value to them. These slaves were taken from their homes and families, separated from their children, husbands, brothers and cousins were killed in the struggle to save what they called their “home.”

They were taken into a new country that removed their ability to love. The women were raped and beaten until there was nothing left but whips, unwanted babies and a dream to be free.

These Africans are now known as African Americans, and after so many years of fighting they were able to develop what we know as Historically Black Colleges or Universities. A central location in each state where African American students can seek higher education and learn all the skills needed in order to survive in a country where they were constantly ostracized and criticized; not because of who  they were but simply because of the color of their skin.

I attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, founded October 3, 1887. What was once a college of simply 15 students and two professors, is now a well renowned University with 14 colleges hundreds of professors and thousands of students.

Going to a historically black college/university (HBCU) in February is like going to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. There is so much rich culture and affluent history you can’t help but be immersed in the roots of the University. From the music, dance and literature all the way to the fine arts and cultural sculpting, and the list goes on!

Attending an HBCU during Black History Month, I am offered opportunities that most people won’t ever get. Civil Rights Activists come to your school and share their experience during the Jim Crow era. They share their trials and tribulations that differ from yours because times have vastly changed.

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Col. Brodes Hartley speaks to FAMU Students.

 

Activist such as C.K Steele’s son, Daryn Steele, Col. Brodes Hartley who started Tallahassee’s first bus boycott, Bree Newsome, the woman who climbed a 30-foot- pole and snatched down the confederate flag in North Carolina; and so many more, came to Florida A&M University to talk about the Tallahassee Civil Rights Movement.

Every week there were multiple events that celebrated the lives of African Americans who fought for our equal rights and fought for our right to have an education.

Having a month that solely celebrates the growth and success of African Americans and to be at the heart, an HBCU, where freedom writer, bus boycotters, and so many protesters discovered they had one power that no one could take away from them. That is their freedom to dream.

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FAMU President Elmira Mangnum speaks to FAMU students about the importance of voting.

 

Each speaker talked about turning a dream into a reality. No one can take your freedom to dream away. It was the thing our ancestors had that their slave masters couldn’t take away. It was the only thing that enhanced the growth of the African American society today. Making a dream become a reality is a powerful, life changing task.

Even though African slaves thought they were left with nothing, they had the ultimate freedom: the freedom to dream. In life, the world is capable of stripping a person of everything – pride, dignity- the whole nine yards. But the one thing that has stuck with the human race for centuries that no scuffle, scratch or scar is capable of taking from us is our freedom to dream. I have come to understand that the freedom to dream means freedom. With the freedom to dream we are free and will always be

Now, take a moment to close your eyes. Think about all those people who started off with a simple dream and changed the world. You can even look at Martin Luther King Jr. and see that a dream can start out as something meek and minor, but change the entire world’s outlook on life. Because of those African slaves and people like Martin Luther King Jr., you learn to appreciate your freedom to dream.

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