Black students of Harvard’s Class of 2017 are preparing to have their own graduation ceremony.
The separate graduation is an effort to highlight the aforementioned struggles and resilience it takes to get through those.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance,” Michael Huggins, a soon-to-become Masters graduate from Harvard’s Kennedy School, told The Root. “It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”
“This is not about segregation,” He added. “It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”
According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, in 2011 the college graduation rate for black students in the United States was 44%. That same report showed that at Harvard, 96% of black students graduate within six years. This is a higher rate than at other colleges or universities.
Even still, many students say they feel isolated and sometimes even alienated on campus.