In this multipart series, HBCU alums share their favorite moments from their alma mater as a testament to what these institutions have meant to them.
When I decided to attend Lincoln University, the oldest historically Black college, I knew that I was about to become part of a rich heritage and legacy. Lincoln graduates have gone on to become pioneers in their fields and change agents in their communities. On this hallowed ground, we’re pushed towards excellence and there are no excuses. We can become the best because greatness is already in us and Lincoln is simply providing us with the tools to reap its harvest.
Yet, while I understood that I was becoming part of Lincoln’s history, I never thought I would actually make history while there. As Miss Lincoln University 2010, I competed in the Miss HBCU Pageant, alongside all the other amazing women who represented their institutions. As the second place winner, I became the first queen in Lincoln University’s history to place in the competition!
I still remember the final question. If you could put one thing into a time capsule to be remembered 100 years from now, what would it be? And I still remember my answer. A diary (and I talked a little about Anne Frank). And I still remember what it felt like to see Dr. Nelson, then-President of Lincoln, in the audience. I had absolutely no idea he’d be there. Then again, I did. Because, at Lincoln, we are a family and you show up for your family.
As a campus queen, I was honored to represent my institution with grace, poise and dignity. I was grateful to be able to extend my call in that capacity to show other young girls what is possible when they dream big and have a safe space to nurture those dreams. That is the joy of our institutions. They become the hush harbors where we are allowed to question, be challenged and develop. And, when the time is right, we get to stand on some of the biggest and brightest stages with our shoulders back and head held high, proudly proclaiming the places we call home.
Angel Mobley is a public theologian and owner of HALO Beauty Cosmetics.