By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
TUSKEGEE, Ala. (FinalCall.com) – Dozens of youth from the Nation of Islam and their parents flocked to Tuskegee University for a highly anticipated tour of the internationally recognized university founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881.
The tour was a highlight of weekend activities commemorating the 18th anniversary of the historic 1995 Million Man March and Day of Atonement.
Families took photographs and marveled at the “Lifting the Veil of Ignorance” statue at the school’s entrance while they waited Oct. 18 for the tour to begin. The statue depicts Mr. Washington lifting a cloak from the eyes of a former slave.
“Booker T. Washington felt that the best way to uplift the Black community is to first of all educate them with the basics: Math, science, cooking. And then he wanted to give them industry–brickmaking, shoe making–things that they could do with their hands so they would not be in poverty for the rest of their lives,” explained Tuskegee student Ivanna Ward, who served as the day’s tour guide.
Called the “Seminal Fluid of the Kingdom of God” by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Tuskegee University is steeped in tradition and stellar academic programs through its colleges of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences.
Admissions and financial aid counselors explained the scholarship, enrollment and tuition processes before Ms. Ward escorted families to the campus’ many historic sites.
They learned about “The Oaks” (Booker T. Washington’s home), the newly renovated Tompkins Hall (student center and dining facility) and the George Washington Carver Museum.
Ms. Ward excited guests when she shared that some of Dr. Carver’s peanut and sweet potato plants were still alive after more than 100 years. Usually, they’re sitting out and growing, but due to the recent government shutdown, the museum was closed and she wasn’t able to take visitors in to see them.
David Muhammad of Houston and his wife Qiana, toured the university with their three children, who are being prepped to attend Tuskegee. Their eldest, 16-year-old Destiny, hopes to attend the college right after she graduates from the independent Elevated Places School next year.
“I’m excited to be here because we get to meet new people from all the nations and different states. And we get to learn different things about historical Black colleges and Booker T. Washington,” Destiny said.
She enjoyed learning more about Mr. Washington, what he did, and why Tuskegee University is significant to students from the Nation of Islam.
Destiny’s mother is confident Tuskegee can help her achieve her goals of becoming a veterinarian and a medical doctor.
“I think it’s an awesome opportunity for our young people to come to see what Mr. Booker T. Washington has established for them and they are willing and ready to take on what we want them to do in the Nation of Islam. We want them to build a new world and I think Booker T. has shown them that this is possible,” she said.