Black students, alumni celebrate their annual Black Homecoming event

Reya Mosby, Life and Arts General Reporter

Editor’s Note: This first appeared as part of the September 27 flipbook. 

Music blared from the DJ’s speakers as students and alumni walked up the stairs leading to the Main Mall on Sept. 25. Generations of fraternity brothers gathered around the grill laughing and sharing stories while sorority sisters dressed in their sorority shirts animatedly greeted each other with hugs. Children ran around dressed head-to-toe in burnt orange as the Longhorns wrecked Texas Tech on the big screen behind them. Alumni sat at tables eating freshly cooked food, and shared old college stories with current students, giving them advice.

Black Homecoming acts as a premier annual tradition for Black students and alumni. This year, the events ran from Wednesday to Sunday. From roller skating to tailgating, over 300 Black alumni and students participated in various events to reconnect with the UT community.

Pearl Akonnor, psychology junior and Black Homecoming co-chair, said Black Homecoming is the annual event the Black Homecoming Planning Committee throws to bring together Black students on campus. 

This event started in the late 90s to celebrate the presence of the Black community on campus after years of protesting for fair treatment. Tameka Sadler, Texas Exes VP of communications who graduated in 1999, helped create the event with fellow members. 

“I realized the Black people did not get together and have a tailgate or have some type of weekend that we could celebrate our legacy at UT,” Sadler said. “I got with a few of my friends to work out Homecoming and what it should look like. The purpose is really to bring Black people back to the University after we graduate and to introduce them to the students to fellowship.”

The tailgate hosts the entire Black UT community — students, alumni, future students and their families — and gives them the opportunity to connect and share wisdom. Edward Blackwell, who graduated in 2002, said the event feels like a family reunion.

“Black Homecoming represents an opportunity to build a bridge between young Black youths that are in college right now and with the Black alumni that have graduated, moved on and are doing things, but can still lift as we climb,” Blackwell said. “We can open doors, give insight, counsel, support and all of these different things.”

Students, such as Black Homecoming co-chair Zion James, also expressed a fondness regarding alumni presence at the event because they can network and learn from these experienced graduates, receiving their positivity.

“It’s just fascinating to see so many Black people who went to UT who are so in love with us as a community to come back and share their experience, to turn up with us, to celebrate with us, to love on us, to cry, laugh and cheer with us,” said James, a sociology and Black studies junior. “It’s just a great moment.”

Akonner said Black Homecoming provides the Black community at UT with a space to be uniquely themselves without having to conform to the culture of a predominantly white institution. 

“Black Homecoming is a political statement in itself,” Akonnor said. “Just making sure that we are standing up for (ourselves), giving us a safe place, giving us a comfortable space and giving us a place where we can just be us and not have to have the imposter syndrome and feel like we have to force ourselves to fit into white spaces. It’s a Black space, and if people are uncomfortable about it, that’s them.”

As the Black community at UT anticipates the next Black Homecoming, James said the opportunities to network and socialize make the event truly special. 

“This is a great time for all Black students to connect,” James said. “That Black experience is something that we all have and we all share. We use it to uplift each other, and we use it to inspire each other.”