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Homecoming Is Where The Heart Is

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DESU chapter.

Ciani Johnson

October marks the start of spooky season and Fall festivities. There is a surge of haunted houses, scary movie reruns, pumpkin patches, pumpkin spice lattes, etc.; but it also marks the peak of Homecoming season. For those of you who don’t know, homecoming is the time of the year when alumni return to their University and join current students in a celebration of school pride and traditions. 

At a Historically Black College or University, Homecoming is a bigger deal than any other social event hosted during the academic year. It includes a football game, a concert, a step show for the members of the divine 9, a coronation for the royal court, and other fun events for everyone to attend during the week. Students, visitors, and alumni alike put on their flyest outfits and reunite with one another on the plots.


But how did this tradition become so important to HBCU culture and African Americans?

Historically Black Colleges and Universities were created to offer an education to freed slaves in America when white institutions denied them acceptance. The very first HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, was established in 1837. At this time, Black people in America were taught to teach, preach, or farm. The first degree-granting HBCU, Lincoln University of PA, was founded in 1854. Today, Black people who attend HBCUs are taught to become surgeons, lawyers, psychologists, and anything else they dare to dream of.

As an HBCU student myself, I know that you meet friends who become family and before you know it, campus becomes your home away from home. It is not clear exactly when or how homecoming became as important as it is to Black students, but our ancestors’ desire to seek education in a place where they were not judged for their skin color or complexion creates reason for finding a second home and family that is an HBCU and college friends.

Homecoming is a chance for older generations and current generations to connect over their shared experience of attending an HBCU. Those who have graduated return to campus and reflect on how far they’ve come, while present students get to see firsthand just how far they can go. 

The best way I can describe Homecoming at an HBCU is to compare it to a family reunion. Regardless of if you know someone personally or not, when they are wearing your school colors and walking around campus on homecoming game day – they are your family.

Think back to how it was once unlawful for black people to gather in groups and how we were once denied our right to education. When we were told we did not belong, we crafted a space that was meant for us. Homecoming is the acknowledgment and celebration of that courage which signifies progression and perseverance. To me, it is a moment that bridges the gap between the past, present, and future of African-American excellence. Homecoming is, indeed, where the heart is.

Hey everyone! I am Ciani Johnson, a 21-year-old junior from Philadelphia majoring in psychology at Delaware State University. I am one of the two campus correspondents and senior editors for Her Campus at DESU. I oversee the ins and outs of our day-to-day including event planning, content creation, programming, and writing, of course! My coverage includes black culture, lifestyle, and relationships. Outside of Her Campus, I am a writer for The Hornet Online, which is the online newspaper for Delaware State University. I also serve as the vice president for Delaware State's ELITE organization- Educated Ladies Igniting True Essence, focusing on sisterhood and community service. In addition, I am a member of Psi Chi- the International Society for Psychology. I enjoy reading, writing, and everything melanated! I am passionate about ensuring black women have a safe space to ignite their creativity and showcase their aspirations, life experiences, and truth. My career goals include counseling black teens through life in the inner city! Be sure to check out my articles! HCXO, Happy Writing!!