Teclesha Blanchard | Texas Southern | '21
Welcome to the MDIB Yard Teclesha Blanchard!
Reppin': Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
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.
I began my academic journey at Clark Atlanta University in 2006. As one of the only Black girls in my K-12 classes, I desired to be in an environment where the Black experience was revered and celebrated. I craved being a part of the Talented Tenth. I yearned for a space that did not require me to tap into double consciousness. After a high school field trip to Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and Clark Atlanta I knew instantly CAU is where I needed to be. After completing my freshman year, I transferred and came back home to Houston where I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Houston with a major in Political Science and a minor in African American Studies.
I have known since I was 5 that I wanted to be an Attorney, and the time was now for me to execute this lifelong dream. I applied to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University because I was intrigued with the idea of being a part of history. Not only is our namesake the first Black Supreme Court Justice, but the birth of the school is a direct result of the infamous case Sweatt v. Painter tried by Thurgood Marshall himself. A case where a Black man was refused admission to the University of Texas School of Law. The idea of becoming a Black Attorney taught and trained by Black Attorneys, on a campus intended to provide opportunities for Black students made my heart smile. Once I received my acceptance letter I was committed to exposing myself to everything the next 3 years had to offer. From Mock Trials to Student Government to being inducted into the Order of Barristers (the highest honor any Law student can receive) every experience prepared me for the next chapter of life and equipped me to take advantage of any opportunity I am presented with.
How did your HBCU shape you and impact your understanding of Black Culture?
Both Clark Atlanta and TMSL created an environment that fostered pride and awareness. It was clear that the goal was to ensure every Black student was equipped to navigate their respective careers as Black professionals both academically and tactically. My understanding of Black culture shifted as a 17 year old living in Atlanta, there were so many different accents, styles of dress, colloquialisms, and schools of thought. A beautiful melting pot of Blackness that I had never previously been exposed to expanded my idea of the Black experience.
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 is known for our band, the Ocean of Soul, and of course one of the best law programs in the country, the Thurgood Marshall School of Law!
What do you say to people who believe HBCUs are not as good as Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)?
The indoctrinated thought that white is right is disgustingly prevalent. It is difficult to combat stupidity, primarily because logical reasoning does not live where absurdity exists. Those who believe this way are very much entitled to their opinion so long as they understand it is just an opinion and not fact. I argue with facts not feelings.
"I YEARNED FOR A SPACE THAT DID NOT REQUIRE ME TO TAP INTO DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS...(HBCUs)EQUIPPED TO NAVIGATE THEIR RESPECTIVE CAREERS AS BLACK PROFESSIONALS BOTH ACADEMICALLY AND TACTICALLY."
Tell us what you wish everyone in the world knew about the HBCU experience.
The pride students gain is unmatched!
Tell us about your most memorable HBCU experiences. (Yes we in yo business, tell us about all of 'em!)
Voted best dressed on the first day of Law School orientation. Passing out at a Delta Probate in Undergrad. Cheering at the celebrity basketball game hosted by Jamie Foxx, filming with BET with my cheer squad for the Black College Tour, falling while tumbling at the homecoming game, being chased after jumping the turn dial in the Marta station (I didn't know we couldn't do that), being the first to graduate with a college degree and a graduate degree in my immediate family.
Was it like Hillman on "A Different World"?
A little bit. Groups of friends from different walks of life navigating the college experience. Ironically Hillman was filmed at Spellman which is next door to Clark Atlanta!
As any alumni will tell you, HBCUs are nurturing environments. What person(s) during your HBCU experience deserves some flowers and recognition?
Professor Lydia Johnson has been and continues to be absolutely instrumental in my life. She has put so many students in a position to succeed and has done so with a genuine heart. She cares about the whole student as she is a proponent of wellness. Her greatness precedes her.
How are you using what you learned from them in your everyday life?
Legal strategy, conflict resolution, and managing how to navigate as a Black Woman in corporate spaces are all skills taught at Texas Southern University and utilized in my everyday life.
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?
I imagine properly funded schools, the due respect from the general population, expansion, and growth.