- My Degree Is Black
Stevens Orozco | Texas Southern | '17
Welcome to the MDIB Yard Stevens Orozco!
Reppin': Texas Southern University
Grad: 2017, 2021
Major: History, English
Occupation: Kindred Stories | Lone Star College
Can you briefly walk us through your HBCU story? How it started, how you got there, and how it helped you get to where you are today.
During the Fall of 2014, I was part of a protest and march in Third Ward. During our walk, we passed by TSU and at the time I was completing my 2-year degree and was looking for the best school to transfer to. After that night, I researched TSU and its history. I knew that was the school I wanted to be a part of. A school born out of resistance.
How did your HBCU shape you and impact your understanding of Black Culture?
Since my BA was in History, the impact was immediate. The professors and their lessons shaped a very clear understanding of HBCU pride and Black History. These molded my understanding of Black culture further and how it influences the overall American culture, including beyond the borders and into world culture.
Before we go any further, let's have a brag session! Tell us about your HBCU(s). What are y'all known for? What are the most exciting things about the yard?
TSU historically is what made Brown v. the Board of Education possible years later. Without Sweat v. Painter (the State of Texas), we do not see the victory for Black people having their own colleges and universities. Once that precedent was set, it opened the door for the other legal victories against segregation. Plus our band, The Ocean of Soul is world famous.
What do you say to people who believe HBCUs are not as good as Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)?
I say they are miseducated and lack knowledge of history. There are many reasons HBCUs' impact has been so powerful for Black people, but also why systemic efforts to starve them out still exist today.
"TSU HISTORICALLY IS WHAT MADE THE BROWN V. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION POSSIBLE YEARS LATER. WITHOUT SWEAT V. PAINTER (THE STATE OF TEXAS), WE DO NOT SEE THE VICTORY FOR BLACK PEOPLE HAVING THEIR OWN COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY."
Tell us what you wish everyone in the world knew about the HBCU experience.
Once you understand the reason for an HBCU's existence and history, then you will understand American history. That lesson can only be truly appreciated through attending an HBCU.
Tell us about your most memorable HBCU experiences. (Yes we in yo business, tell us about all of 'em!)
My graduation day. The sight of so many beautiful people smiling and full of joy was incredible.
Was it like Hillman on "A Different World"?
I've actually never watched it.
As any alumni will tell you, HBCUs are nurturing environments. What person(s) during your HBCU experience deserves some flowers and recognition?
There were so many who made an impact on my life. Dr. Kimberly Brown-Pellum, Dr. Charlene Evans, Dr. Alexis Brooks de Vita, Dr. Michael Zeitler, and Dr. Marlene Pitre.
How are you using what you learned from them in your everyday life?
By continuing to pour my labor of both love and passion back into the Historic Third Ward community.
Thank you for showing us Your Yard and telling us Your Experience. Before you go, tell us, what do you imagine for the future of HBCUs?
The future I see for HBCUs is one where there is more money and funding, and less revisionist history and whitewashing.