Virus Halts Tradition

Rodney Davis, Contributing Writer

How has COVID-19 affected colleges that thrive on tradition, social interaction and brotherly competition? For Atlanta’s all-black male institution, Morehouse College, traditions take a virtual turn for hopefully the best.

Professor Illya Davis, a 1990 alumnus of the college, serves as the college’s director of new students, tradition and transition. Davis is adamant about continuing the traditions of his beloved alma mater in the wake of such uncertainty. 

Morehouse College prides itself on fostering an environment that thrives on tradition, especially during the spring semester, through events such as Crown Forum, Admitted Students Weekend, and the Miss Maroon & White pageant. 

In lieu of Crown Forum, a weekly gathering where the Morehouse community is engaged on a myriad of topics that impact Black America, the college has shifted to a virtual platform where the Morehouse community will “convene to navigate through present difficult times toward a stronger Morehouse and body politic,” Crown Forum Director Dr. David Wall Rice said in an email to students. 

Another part of Morehouse culture is the riveting discussions on the street that splits the college in two, affectionately known as Brown Street. 

To continue the spirit of thought-provoking conversations among brothers during this time, Davis has started a Facebook Group titled Brown Street Convos at Morehouse. The group has amassed over 200 alumni of the college and current students as members.

Davis said in a post in the group, “I want us to feel at home” along with pictures of Brown Street and Graves Hall, the oldest building on campus. 

Spelman is adjusting its social traditions to a virtual platform. Fridays in the Atlanta University Center are known as Market Friday. This event is full of vendors, food trucks, and great mixes from student DJs. 

To commemorate the first full week of online classes, Spelman’s student life decided to host a live virtual Market Friday on the social media platform, Instagram. 

The live brought together more than 200 AUC students where they role-played as if they were in Lower Manley, where the event is usually hosted. 

COVID-19 has surely brought forth a new normal of how students connect. Institutions of higher learning, HBCUs in particular, must continue to amplify and uplift the programming that has made each respective school so unique.