Black graduates of Harvard University made headlines this week by instituting their own graduation celebration. Harvard Magazine profiled the inaugural celebration for its African American students, which did not replace the school’s usual commencement exercises, but many say supplemented them.
The occasion felt both solemn and joyful: “Three weeks before my first day at Harvard, I learned of the murder of Michael Brown. Months later, I listened as my professor struggled to explain the public policy that allowed his murderer to walk free,” began Duwain Pinder, who will graduate with a joint M.B.A.-M.P.P. “And the overwhelming question during this first year at Harvard was how I could survive in a world that seems not to value my life.”
The ceremony went viral with this video of graduates swag surfing.
Harvard’s black graduates now join a proud HBCU student tradition dating back nearly eight years at campuses across the country.