My Perspective: Destined to Attend an HBCU
In celebration of Black History Month, several Honda leaders who attended HBCUs are sharing their experiences and discussing Honda’s support for these institutions. The final piece in the series is from Michael Bracey, Procurement Diversity team leader at Honda of America Mfg. Bracey is a graduate of Florida A&M University, in Tallahassee, Fla.
You could say I was destined to attend an HBCU. In my family, I’ve had six relatives graduate from HBCU’s including my sister, who received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Howard University.
I was accepted to non-HBCU’s, but what drew me to Florida A&M’s School of Business & Industry was the number of talented black students from all over the country who attended the school. I went to high school in a non-diverse suburb where finding other students like myself was rare. The attraction of going to college with kids like me from all over the country was too much to pass up.
Attending an HBCU is like joining a social club for the rest of your life. My son and daughter, who attended Morehouse College and Tuskegee University, respectively, marvel that wherever I go, I run into friends I met through attending an HBCU. These shared experiences and connections are the connective tissue in my life.
As an African-American who has attended college, I find I have an almost instant shared connection when meeting another African-American who attended college. Although we share the common experience of being Black in America, we have developed different ways to manage the journey through life.
Attending an HBCU provided a very safe learning experience during college and that feeling of safety and community continues to this day. My friends who attended non-HBCUs tell me they wish they would have had a similar experience. As an HBCU student, I worked with professors and school administrators who truly looked at me as they did their own children and had my best interest at heart. I was taught academic subjects, and also how to succeed in life. The feeling of having a school behind you to prepare you for success is an incredible feeling.
As the main – and sometimes only – avenue to educate African-American students, the pipeline of HBCU’s has delivered many outstanding citizens who may not have had the same success on another path.
It makes me feel good to know that Honda, through our collaboration with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, is creating more opportunities for HBCU students, which will in turn, positively impact society as a whole in the long run. It is helping Honda become a company society wants to exist.