A personal travel experience I would never forget happened last year in March of 2008. I was elected by a City Counsel woman to attend a Black College Tour. This is a trip where young African-Americans have the opportunity to visit Historical Black Colleges. We toured colleges in the states of Texas and Louisiana. For further elaboration, these colleges were founded by African-Americans.
What really amazed me is not only was I chosen to attend this tour but was informed I didn’t have to pay the entire fee of $800. I paid $300, my mom paid $100, and the organization paid the rest, because of keeping a 3.5 GPA while playing a sport and maintaining a job. I was thrilled because that meant extra money in my pockets to purchase souvenirs’. Another opportunity for me to save money was, meals were provided. This trip provided personal touches because our meals were with different families living in those states.
On this trip I learned that Colleges such as Texas A&M and Texas College were slave plantations. It was really interesting to know how these schools became to be. Wiley and Paul Quinn turned, what use to be slave owner homes, into admission offices. We also visited LSU which I thought was a Historical Black College but to my dismay, learned LSU was not. It was known for their very impressive sports and academic programs. To be accepted into that school you need a 3.5 grade point average and an excessively high SAT and ACT score; or outstanding in sports and receive a sports scholarship instead. At the Historically Black Colleges, you needed a 2.5 grade point average, a 17 on your ACT and a 1300 on your SAT. But, if you had a 3.0 or higher your SAT and ACT scores were looked over and, some of the colleges might even wave you’re out of state fees.
What I had a hard time with was getting up in the morning. On our departure day and a few other days, we had to be up around five. Majority of the people were not morning people so they were grouchy with attitudes, but because of my excitement I kept it all positive and encouraged the others. When we woke up, everyone had morning breathe, it was so bad the chaperones said, “Gum for everyone” and handed it out. The bus only had one bathroom that was hot and stuffy and we all had to wait their turn. When we arrived to LSU everyone wanted to go to LSU’s bookstore and we were not able to. This upset 90% of the kids on the trip, which made everyone, want to go home.
This trip really changed me in many ways. At first I just wanted to stay home and go to a local college in California. Going on this trip made me want to go to an out of state college and explore the world. Before this trip I had no idea that there was such a thing as, schools with 90% African-Americans and founded by African-Americans. Along with that meeting new people on this trip, it showed me how much of a cheerleader I am for others. I got along with everyone on that trip and stayed in touched with them.
I was honored and grateful to attend this trip. Being in the presence of history gave me that life changing experience. Seeing history, seeing what my people accomplished and made of themselves, made me very proud to be an African-American and strive to be a part of history.
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