FAMU Legacy continues as future generations carry torch

Founder’s Day has again fallen upon FAMU. This day is a day when homage is paid to those who have contributed their blood, sweat, tears and even lives and worked diligently to produce this illustrious University that many hold dear in their hearts. It will prove to be an emotional day for some and a totally brand new experience for others.

“We have inherited the proud legacy of FAMU. With this inheritance, we are charged with the important responsibility of not just preserving the legacy but protecting it, celebrating it and continuing it. We can do this by being extraordinary students in our character, our academics and our community services,” said Dr. Murell Dawson.

Dawson is the official archivist and curator for the Black Archives at Florida A&M. Dawson, a former student of FAMU, holds a B.A. in print journalism, a Masters Degree in museum and archival studies and a PhD in information studies.

Dawson informed me that she feels that students are a product of the efforts of the past presidents of FAMU and that FAMU students have a history of being persistent in the quest for education.

“When I look at the faces in the pictures of our founders I can hear them saying, “We must not fail…” and FAMU students have that determination drilled into their bones and it is flowing through their bloodstream,” said Dawson.

Dawson went on to say that the founding fathers of FAMU were influenced by Booker T. Washington’s idea of industrial education and W.E.B. Dubois’ idea of liberal arts.

“Florida A&M was founded at a time when Booker T. Washington’s idea of industrial education was popular in the south,” said Dr. Leedell W. Neyland.

Dr. Neyland is the co-author of the book “Florida A&M University: The Centennial History 1887-1987” which was written alongside Dr. John Riley under the administration of President George W. Gore. And is also the author of “Florida A&M University: 16 Years of Excellence With Caring” which was written under the administration of President Frederick S. Humphries.

With no educational affiliation with the university except his two works, Dr. Neyland still seems to have a passion about the preserving and protection of FAMU.

“Students must realize that Florida A&M has been responsible for providing the foundation for African-Americans to build on for 118 years. Yes, we are living in an integrated world but yet the enrollment for black college students is still not where it needs to be…”said Neyland. “We have come a very long way but there is still a very long way to go.”

Dr. Victoria Warner was the chairperson for the department of social work at FAMU from 1979-1997. Dr. Warner was born in 1926 here on FAMU’s campus. Her father H. Manning Efferson was a professor and an administrator at FAMU and also has the student union building named after him.

When asked what was the goal our founding fathers wanted to achieve they all agreed that our founding fathers understood that it was important for us to receive an education not just from an industrial world but that we must also be well rounded in a liberal arts world also.

It is acceptable to say that Founder’s Day may be compared to a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. For on those two days we show gratitude and appreciation to the people responsible for molding and shaping us into our present being. The dream that Florida A&M University founders had, still lives on today.

Contact Glenn Childs at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com