Howard University is an institution that is recognized for the Mecca that it is – a center of Blackness, study, spirit and energy – and Howard Homecoming embodies this. In 2020, Howard is known as much for its celebrity alum as it’s been known historically for its medical school. Howard’s logo and word mark are highly recognizable and from its visibility on the big screen in Hollywood, has become the go-to HBCU for showcasing Black excellence. But when has that not been the case in the school’s 151-year history? One overlooked fact is that Howard University is a ranking Research Institute is overlooked. The legacy of Howard University “produc[ing] more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world” should be evidence enough to think that there is something significant and special that exists on the campus.
Howard’s homecoming is a legendary event, internationally known as the event that welcomes the children of The Mecca home. At the annual reunion, the swag surf on the yard is epic and the performances legendary. When those who never matriculated walk onto the campus, they most likely have no idea what the central building with the white dome is. Those of us who know the stones and grass of the yard, understand the cultural significance of the trees as pillars and vessels. We know Founders as a second home to our inquiries, thoughts and bodies which we nestled in chairs for countless hours to internalize the words of scribes who planted intellectual seeds that guided us as we came of age. The world at large may know the name Howard University, but it is our service as alumni to share the intellectual and cultural soul of the school – Founder’s Library. As the often backdrop to Yard Fest, Founders is duly the backbone that holds it up.
For AURN Digital, highlighting Howard University’s research and literacy legacies is as important as showcasing how homecoming goes down. During homecoming 2019, AURN Digital produced a short film on the duality of the intellectual legacy at Howard and celebrating its progeny coming home.
Following our contributing writer, host and Howard alum J. Hall Radio, we explored the importance of Founders Library, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and Maroon learning spaces. Simultaneously as the AURN production team documented and explored the physical landscape and spirit of the yard, we simultaneously talked with professors, researchers, librarians and educators. They spoke of Howard University as a research school, on concepts of Afro futurism, Black genius and what celebration looks and feels like in Black spaces. Because as the world knows, Howard Homecoming is a whole vibe.