The Legacy Continues

When I first saw my dorm room, words could not express how I felt. I had always imagined that it would have the same amenities I had at home. I imagined well-furnished carpeted quarters with adjacent bathrooms, but it was the complete opposite. My new home was a room on the third floor of Jones Hall, the high-rise female dormitory that is now closed. Inside it I discovered a twin size bed, a much worn locker were I would store my personal items, and a desk. Although I tried to hold back tears, I looked around my new environment and began to cry. When my mother saw the tears, she immediately asked if I wanted to go home, but my father, in his usual tough love voice, took me outside and told me that this would be my new home now and that I had to suck it up. The look in my father’s face told me that I had no choice but to take his advice, and after wiping away the tears, my family and I turned my worn dorm room into something I could appreciate. As a descendent of many graduates of Grambling State University, there was no doubt where I would attend college after graduating from high school. My mother had always told me that college was an opportunity to find myself. I had been accepted into several universities, but the stories I heard all my life about Grambling State University were extremely attractive. From great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, I learned about the struggle of black people, and Grambling was always weaved into that struggle. I have laughed at stories about four-person rooms, pranks played on dorm mothers, long registration lines, standing out on the square (now called the yard) all day, protests, dressing up on Sundays, students not being allowed to leave campus unless a parent wrote a letter to the dorm mother, and many other infamous activities of their time. More importantly, from every story my family members shared, I always sensed a deep sense of pride. I wanted to experience that feeling in addition to getting a good education, so I chose to come to Grambling. From generation to generation, my family has maintained a sense of togetherness. Many of them say that going to Grambling was their first time away from home. We are from Covington, La., a small town where everybody knows everybody. When my great grandparents, Rigley and Mamie Martin, decided to send their oldest daughter off to college, my great grandmother could not understand why her daughter wanted to go so far away. "I wondered if I ever see my child again," she explained. Both my great grandparents received basic educations. At the time of their oldest daughter’s first year in college, my great grandfather worked various handyman jobs, while my great-grandmother worked as a housekeeper. But together they managed to send five out of nine children to college and began a path for three generations to come. Being a proud student at Grambling State University is not something that happened overnight. It began with a foundation my great grandparents set so that future generations would have an opportunity to educate themselves. Being a part of this family legacy has made me work hard to make those who have come before me proud and is a tradition that I must carry on. I have made it my responsibility to accomplish my dreams and convince others to attend Grambling State University. I want to pass on that unmatched sense of pride that Gramblinites from near and far hold in their hearts.Ashante Hyde is a sophomore mass communication major from Covington.