Alcorn State, Miss. (January 17, 2013) – “What an amazing, uplifting experience,” says sophomore Jonathan Hood, of Vicksburg. “While I am certain a good time was had by all, the pilgrimage was really educational and more meaningful for us because of our president’s knowledge and ability to tell the story of our founding president in such an intimate way.”
Past immediate president of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association Percy Norwood agreed and added, “Understanding one’s history and heritage is necessary in order to move forward with purpose. It reminds us of the true value of an Alcorn education.”
More than 40 members of the Alcorn family including students, faculty, staff and alumni traveled to Holly Springs, Mississippi, to honor Hiram Rhodes Revels.
President Revels was born to free parents of Scottish, African, and Croatan Indian heritage, he became the first African-American United States Senator who resigned his seat in the Senate to become the first president of Alcorn University serving from 1871-1882.
The Pilgrimage included a time for reflection, study and conversation while traveling to Revels gravesite. The Alcorn delegation visited the Emmett Till memorial and viewed three documentaries – “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till”, “Scottsboro: An American Tragedy” and “Black Indians: An American Story”.
Dr. Derek Greenfield, director of Educational Equity and Inclusion at Alcorn led a deeply felt discussion on the harrowing stories of racism, discrimination and the unresolved racial divides reflected in the documentaries.
Rust President David Beckley welcomed President Brown and the Alcorn family to Holly Springs. During lunch, President Beckley shared stories of remembrance of Revels, reminding us all that even today, we can still learn from the vision and value of Revels.
Both institutions attended the wreath laying ceremony at Hill Crest Cemetery where President Brown made prominent remarks about Revels’ legacy of family, friends and faith. President Brown closed the ceremony with the classic words of Gladys Knight, “If anyone should ever write my life’s story for whatever reason that might be, there between each verse of pain and glory, know that Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships which benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation and world.