Atlanta University Center students rep their colleges in front of Spelman’s Rockefeller Hall | Photograph by Lynsey Weatherspoon
Edited by Mike Jordan and Kamille D. WhittakerPhotography by Lynsey Weatherspoon
Renee M. Palmer | Clark Atlanta University, Class of 1997, business administration major, real estate minor
I had the privilege of having two parents who had matriculated at HBCUs. My mother attended Tuskegee, and my father, David Palmer, attended Clark College in the ’60s. I was legacy. I was in the last freshman class of Clark College. So, we were there through the merger with Atlanta University, which happened July 1 of 1988. Because we were 17 at the time, I don’t think that we realized the magnitude of the merger. We still wore our infamous Clark College visors that got passed out during freshman orientation week, we still crisscrossed our hands into Cs to symbolize Clark College, and all the signage still had Clark College on it. The signs started changing to Clark Atlanta University spring semester. I took a personal sabbatical. When I went back for spring semester five years later, I had the opportunity to matriculate with the Olympic class, because the Olympics happened in 1996. Ten Clark Atlanta University students from the business school were hired to work for the Olympics, and I happened to be at work-study answering the dean’s phones. So I got one of those 10 slots. You can tell the different generations and eras because those of us who attended Clark still say “dear old Clark”—that still sticks with us. In fact, when I started applying to schools, my father told me, Well, you can go wherever you want, but I’m sending my money to Clark!
Brock Mayers | Morehouse College, Class of 1999, psychology major
In 1996, we started to see flyers everywhere saying Fugees, Groove Theory, and some dude we’d never heard of—Maxwell—were coming to Morehouse to perform. We went to the concert, excited to see the Fugees, thinking everyone else had already performed. That was not the case. Maxwell comes out, with the big, crazy hair in a skinny suit. He was, to most people, unknown, onstage gyrating and singing “Sumthin’ Sumthin” in falsetto. Pretty much from the time he hit the stage, boos rained down on his head. The AUC came together at Morehouse and booed Maxwell. It wasn’t his fault; the circumstances of the night just didn’t allow us to give him a chance. To his credit, he kept going and later we found appreciation. What’s crazy is now, as dean of students, I’m the one who puts on concerts. It would be dope to have him come back for a reunion show.
Arletta Brinson | Spelman College, Class of 1974, psychology major, counseling minor
I am a legacy graduate of Spelman. My mother was in the class of 1946. I graduated in 1974, so that means in 2024, I will be a Golden Girl. In 1970, one of the things that we were seriously into was saying “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud,” and talking about unity across the Atlanta University Center. I think about the political campaigns . . . We worked on Maynard Jackson’s campaigns and some of Andy Young’s campaigns. They had the students from the AUC involved in everything from passing out literature and working the telephone banks to standing outside with the placards. In fact, I just gave my godchild a Maynard T-shirt from one of his first campaigns. There was just a whole sense of political awareness and involvement and understanding that you had to give back to your community. That was the through line.