St. Paul church celebrates 10 years of HBCU campus visits
By Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald
Last month, St. Paul’s Progressive Baptist Church (PBC) sent 68 youth on a tour to visit seven Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South. PBC is celebrating their 10th anniversary in providing youth with educational opportunities that instill an appreciation for their heritage, culture and aspirations to pursue higher education after high school. Students from 31 schools took part in the tour along with two nurses, one photographer, one security person and 16 chaperones.
During the tour, students received information on tuition and financial aid, ways that they can prepare themselves for college, and received a glimpse at what campus life is like. The six-day tour included stops in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
On Monday, October 13 students, chaperones and parents met for departure at PBC where Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Earl Miller, Rev. Runny Henderson, Dr. Delores Henderson (principal of Hazel Park Academy), and St. Paul Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann provided words of encouragement. After arriving in Atlanta the following evening, students and chaperones checked into the hotel and participated in a meet and greet.
Wednesday, October 15 students and chaperones toured the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Martin Luther King National Historical site, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University. The following day they arrived in Montgomery, Alabama and toured Alabama State University, then proceeding to Rust College in Holly Sprigs, Mississippi.
Students and chaperones toured the Loraine Hotel (where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated) on Friday, October 17 and the LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee before venturing to Fisk University in Nashville. The tour finished in Nashville visiting Tennessee State University, watching a football game and the TSU Marching Band at halftime.
The vision and mission
Jo Ann Clark had a vision 10 years ago. Clark, who works in the education ministry at PBC, saw the need to provide African American students in the metro area with the chance to learn about educational opportunities relevant to their culture. With the help of Rev. Miller, the church pastor, the HBCU College Tour was born.
“Our young people need to be exposed to post-high school educational opportunities. That’s why our education ministry worked so hard to make the goal of taking students to visit several HBCUs,” Rev. Miller is quoted as saying on the tour’s website. The Progressive Education Ministry mission is to support youth, promote higher education, broaden their college choices, and educate students on the significance of HBCUs.
For more information on next year’s tour or to make donations, contact the PBC College Tour at 651-568-4850, email@example.com or the tour website at pbccollegetour.wix.com/progressive.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald attended Central State University (CSU), an HBCU in Wilberforce, Ohio, graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications (Journalism). He participated in the PCB HBCU College Tour as the photographer. His father, the late Kwame JC McDonald, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from CSU in 1954.