Unannounced Visit

Jarvis Christian College

Hawkins, Texas


On my journey from Houston, TX to Nashville, TN, I had the opportunity to explore the campus of Jarvis Christian College.  Jarvis, affiliated with the “Christian Church”, is a private, religiously affiliated college serving 900 students on an intimate 243 acre campus.  Jarvis Christian College is not far from Dallas, and welcomes you onto the campus with a beautiful cascade.

As you drive onto the campus you see the victory bell in the school color: purple, and in close proximity, the school mascot eternally stands guard.

You can find out more about Jarvis on their website, www.jarvis.edu.  In the meanwhile, join me on my trek of Jarvis through my photos and “imagine the possibilities.”

Administration Building

J.N. Ervin Religion and Culture Center


Original site of KY State

Kentucky State University, one of the state’s two accredited HBCUs, has a long and storied history. The first permanent building on the campus, Jackson Hall, appears on the National Register. Directly in front of the Jackson Hall is a historic marker with an overview of the university’s founding: Kentucky State University chartered in 1886; opened in 1887 with three teachers and 55 students. The first state-supported institution of higher education for Africans, Kentucky State U. gained funds from legislature for building and teachers, and from Frankfort city council for site and clearing of grounds. Ky State earned four-year college status in 1931, and achieved university status in 1972.


As the public university in the state’s capital, Kentucky State University attracts a large number of government employees. Subsequently, the Ky State U educates a higher proportion of adult learners (students aged 25 and older) and European Americans than most HBCU. Walking on campus, however, KySU student life closely resembles the activities I have seen at other HBCU.

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Located between the two largest cities in Kentucky, Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky State University attracts students from the state’s urban centers as well as the Bluegrass state’s “hills and hollows.”  Students appear really involved and engaged around campus, during my visit I saw campaign signs for student government positions and student organizations hosting cookouts.


Kentucky State University: enter to learn go out to serve.





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Lane College in the West Tennessee city of Jackson is a private Black college associated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal (formerly the Colored Methodist Episcopal) Church.  In fact, Lane is the first college established by the CME church.  The four remaining CME colleges include Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama (Metropolitan Birmingham), Texas College in Tyler, Texas, and the Phillips School of Theology housed in the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia.  Mississippi Industrial College, was established by the CME church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1905 and closed in the 1982.  Lane is located between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee’s two largest cities, so students are only a short trip away from an NBA Memphis Grizzlies game or Sunday night football with the NFL Tennessee Titans.

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Upon arrival on campus, I noticed the potential of Lane College.  The campus is not far from Tennessee’s main interstate, I-40, and Jackson is the largest city between the state’s two largest metropolitan areas.  Not to be outdone by Memphis or Nashville, Jackson has a history and style all its own.  The campus is full of historic markers commemorating Lane’s contributions to the city and the region.

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Lane was founded in 1882, and because the administration chose to renovate and maintain rather than to demolish and rebuild, most of the campus is registered as a site of national historic significance with the State of Tennessee and the United States Department of the Interior.  Along with renovated and restored historic buildings, Lane hosts modern academic and auxiliary buildings to facilitate the college’s growth in academic offerings and enrollment.

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One building stood out among the rest to me on the Lane campus: the CMAC. Lane College’s Chambers-McClure Academic Center.  CMAC houses the library, the main assembly room Graves Auditorium, and serves as the overall academic hub of campus.  The CMAC’s bold architecture makes it stand out among the more historic structures on campus.

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The most memorable part of campus was the Methodist art work commemorating the Tennessee Burned Churches in the ten years between 1988 and 1998.  Painfully true, the words inscribed on the monument reads “Churches are still burning.”  Topped by the National Coalition for Burned Churches logo, the monument lists the names, months, and years of all the churches burned in Tennessee from 1988 to 1998.  To get through the pain, to overcome the pressure to fear and rage, I believe Lane presents another option, pressing toward the mark for the prize of high calling of GOD in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). The monument commemorates the burned churches, the campus itself represents that we as a people are still standing, and the cross atop the monument reminds us of the promise of better things to come.  The monument to burned churches does more than remind me of how much racist hate us, it also allows for reflection on GOD’s grace and remembering His record of delivering people from seemingly insurmountable situations.

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Lane College’s intimate 55-acre campus setting, 2 to 1 student to computer ratio, and average student enrollment of 1,500 provide an optimal set up for a liberal arts education.  Lane offers bachelor’s degrees in 18 major fields.  Additionally, through a collaboration with Tennessee State University, Nashville’s only public university, Lane provides its students with the chance to earn a degree in engineering. The dual degree program allows Lane students majoring in engineering to receive a Bachelor’s of Science degree in math from Lane and a bachelors’s of science in engineering from Tennessee State University.

From historic landmarks to modern facilities, Lane knows The Power of Progress

Offering dual degrees with Tennessee State University, Lane knows The Power of Partnerships

Overall, Lane College knows, promotes, and exemplifies The Power of Potential

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Visit the Lane College website for more information



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Carl at Denmark Tech Entrance 20150312_180033


Denmark Technical College, boasting over 1,800 students as of Fall 2013, has an enrollment and employee population that would make up 2 out of every five citizens in the city of Denmark, South Carolina. Denmark Tech impressively utilizes 53 acres of land to accommodate its growing student body in 18 buildings including facilities for on-campus living, inter-collegiate athletics programs, technology centers, labs, shops, administration, and students services. Denmark Tech is a public, two-year comprehensive institution which, as the name suggests, specializes in preparing people for careers in technical fields. Half of Denmark Tech’s students are of the age of twenty-five and over, and 97 percent of the student body identifies as Black and/or African American. Located 50 miles from the state’s capital of Columbia, 50 miles from Augusta, Georgia, a few miles from fellow South Carolina HBCUs Claflin and South Carolina State, and literally across a fence from Historically Black Voorhees College, Denmark Technical College is well-located to host a growing student body and help interested students transfer to quality bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. As a result, Denmark Tech reported awarding 500 degrees and certificates in the 2012-2013 academic term. In short, Denmark Tech is a place “Where great things are happening.”

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“A&M, A&M, A&M, A&M, U, wooooo, a …”


I heard the Alabama A&M chant throughout my childhood in Huntsville, Alabama. More than the chant, A&M line dances, marching band routines, and majorette eight counts were passed down to several of the high schools and multiple middle schools in north Alabama. At each football and basketball game, you could be sure to hear a high school band play song that closely resembled the pieces performed by the Alabama A&M Marching band.

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More than music and athletics, the people of North Alabama were influenced by the scores of A&M teachers, teaching assistants, substitute teachers, camp counselors, and community center employees dotted throughout the region.  A&M alumni teach classes, lead workshops, and serve in churches throughout the Alabama and their influence is widespread.

As a public land-grant institution, A&M has extension staff working all over the state of Alabama.  In addition to their extension services, A&M’s agricultural work with forestry gives them access to over 2000 acres of land that spans three area codes from Huntsville to south Alabama past the cities of Auburn and Tuskegee.

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Currently, Alabama A&M University serves over 5,300 students and boasts more than 40,000 alumni world-wide.  From the original Hooper Councill Training school to the new expansions on campus resulting from Knight v Alabama desegregation case settlement money, Alabama A&M University is merging its historic past with its progressive future to provide opportunities for forgotten and underserved sons and daughters of North Alabama and the entire Tennessee Valley.

Alabama A&M University, though technically located in Normal, AL, is surrounded on every side by the city of Huntsville, the fourth largest city and second largest metropolitan service area in the state of Alabama.  Originally located in downtown Hunstville, Alabama A&M was Huntsville’s only public 4-year higher education institution for 75 years until the establishment of University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) in 1950.  Alabama A&M was nearly all Black, and UAH is branch of the same school that resisted the federal government’s demand to desegregate, thus creating a race-based dual-system of higher education in Hunstville.  College desegregation lawsuits and federal policies have ruled in favor Alabama A&M, providing additional funds to the campus for capital improvements resulting in the a new athletic facility, residence center, and numerous academic buildings on the campus.  “The Hill” is still recognizable to older alum, while providing new state of the art facilities for today’s tech savvy college students.

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Boasting the city’s only college football team, Alabama A&M attracts a respectable crowd for Saturday night home football games and its marching band has total influence on North Alabama’s high school and middle school bands.  The football stadium hosts a number of high school football games and the Agricultural Exhibition Center puts on events that draws various population groups to the campus.  Alabama A&M has a strong and significant influence on the majority Black north Huntsville area, and the greater Tennessee Valley region.  Alabama A&M has 140 years of making the world better for our people and I look forward to 140 more years of the Bulldog boogie.

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Fayetteville State University Broncos

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According to the historic markers, Fayetteville State University was established in 1867,making it the second oldest public college in the state of North Carolina.  As a part of the University of North Carolina, Fayetteville State University is led by a chancellor.  Due to the leadership of its chancellors, faculty, and staff Fayetteville State University is well-known for the nursing program in the beautiful Southeastern North Carolina Nursing Education and Research Center and well-respected for its multiple partnerships with the U.S. military and establishment of a Center for Defense and Homeland Security.  Beyond the academic accolades, Fayetteville State University offers a lot to its 6000+ student body in the form of campus amenities and aesthetics.   There are at least three statues of Fayetteville State Broncos on the campus greeting people onto the grounds and into the athletic fields. Ceremonies seem to be constantly taking place in the Seabrook Auditorium, I actually stepped into an awards ceremony by accident when I came to the campus.  Modern on-campus accommodations for students include McLeod Hall, University Place Apartments, and the crown jewel Renaissance Hall.

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In addition to military personnel, adult learners, and traditional undergraduates, the Fayetteville State University campus also serves as the host site for two high schools: Cumberland International Early College High School and Cross Creek Early College High School.  With a pipeline of Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, GEAR UP, two high schools on campus, a partnership with a third high school less than a mile away, and the FSU-Fort Bragg Center satellite with weekend and evening classes on the U.S. Air Force base, Fayetteville State University is poised to continue being a “beacon of guidance and inspiration,” further developing citizens who believe in “deeds not words.”

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Bronco statue and trademark at the entrance to the football field and basketball arena

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Voyager Carl Darnell with Fayetteville State Bronco and staff in the administration building

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Living-Learning Center and traditional style residence hall for underclassmen

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Interesting architecture on campus, the metal and glass structure is home to the Cumberland International Early College High School


Historic spot on campus, water spigot set up by the former slaves who once lived in Fayetteville.

For more information search the Fayetteville State University website www.uncfsu.edu

Awesome campus. The first time I’ve ever known an HBCU to be older than its host city. The only residential Black campus I know to transition all of its residence halls to apartment-style living centers.
Nice experience, nice campus, nice students.


Residence Centers



Texas Southern University, the pride of Houston’s third ward.

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Established humbly as Houston’s Colored Junior College, rapidly expanded in light of the 1947 Sweatt court case, and sustained by pure grit, Texas Southern University has a rich history. Texas Southern University, one of only two public HBCUs in the state, has grown from a community college to a doctoral level, 4-year university in a matter of decades. Boasting Barbara Jordan as their most famous alum, scores of graduates from Texas Southern have gone on to make an impact on Houston, the state of Texas, and the American southwest.

Texas Southern University’s 150 acre campus hosts the instruction and services for over 9,600 students.  Texas Southern consists of 11 academic schools and colleges.  The Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern, is one of only five historically Black law schools in the country.

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Touring Texas Southern was exciting, a stroll down Tiger Walk winds through the entirety of campus. Tiger Walk is lined with most of the major campus buildings, the Yard, sculptures, a clock tower, and historic markers. The main library, next door to the campus theater building, is home to two annual exhibits, one dedicated to Barbara Jordan and the other celebrating art in Africa.

Traditional African Art Collection

The film and communications department was particularly active during my weekend visit. While on campus, I witnessed the students filming a meeting. I spoke with a member of the crew about previous movies the film students have made and the movie posters lining the walls of the department.  Next door in Hannah Hall, decades-old murals created by art students adorned the halls. The campus seemed warm and celebrated student creativity: a feeling directly reflected in the attitudes of the students I met.