Leaving Home

Leaving Home – Ep 4: Moving Into the College Freshman Dorm

Those of us who drove or flew in to college can relate to this part of the story. I personally remember driving down in my father’s Nissan Pathfinder packed to the brim with every little thing that I thought was important to me from my room at home including EVERY shoe, pair of jeans and accessory I owned. HA! What a mistake in hindsight.

Campus Life

Johnny J Jones’ First Impressions on “Leaving Home: An HBCU Story”

From the moment I volunteered to assist Rustin “Roundup Russy” Moore on his documentary, “Leaving Home: An HBCU Story”, I was excited and anticipating the joy of being a part of such a production. Documenting the first 48 hours of Kaiya Watson’s time on the campus of a historically Black university, which happened to be North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (referred to as “A&T” from here on…too long to write out every time!) in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“What an awesome production this is going to be!”

Fast forward to August 13th and I’m in Greensboro alongside Rustin and we’re beginning the project. I had a camera malfunction the first day I was part of the project so I had to find ways to make myself useful (carrying luggage into Kaiya’s room, offering lotion recommendations at Target…you know, the usual stuff), but the time was also spent just having so many memories flood back into my mind of my first day on campus at Howard University.

Much like my arrival at Howard University, I was just wowed by the aura of Black optimism that surrounded us. So many variations of the Black Diaspora along with students of other races and nationalities on one campus to cultivate greatness. So many individuals eager to conquer the world, even though hesitant about having to leave home to do so.

As we carried Kaiya things up the stairs to her dorm room, I remembered my seemingly never-ending trek up the stairs to Room 513 in Drew Hall, where some lonely looking guy from New Jersey was sitting in the room by himself.

“This guy looks like a dweeb…”

Twelve years later and that guy, Brian Clarke, is still someone I consider my best friend – a brother gained through the journey of life…and seeing as I arrived wearing a plaid shirt and khaki shorts (above the knee, mind you) the feeling was mutual upon first glance.

I was surprised when Kaiya was disappointed in the appearance of her room. Compared to the accommodations afforded us in Drew Hall (no AC, schizophrenic elevator, rodents, cold tile floors, need I go on?), Aggie Suites were luxurious! I mean, they had a microwave AND a refrigerator in every room!

“These new age kids don’t know how good they got it”

The atmosphere on A&T’s campus felt like a reunion of sorts. A connection to family that you never knew you had, but that has been waiting just for you. While many freshmen were arriving from from all over North Carolina as well as the DC-Maryland-Virgina (DMV) area which is a reasonable five hours away, I couldn’t help but empathize for Kaiya making a journey literally from the other side of the country. There are no easy weekend trips home or surprise visits from parents. I had empathy for her, but also saw a lot of strength in making such a decision, knowing that it will only make her stronger as a person once she completes the journey.

“What a great HBCU ambassador she will be once she graduates.”

I returned home to Durham later that evening, exhausted physically and mentally, but eager to return the next day to continue assisting in documenting Kaiya’s journey.

Just had to make a quick run to my camera shop to get a camera that worked.


Watch Episode Two of ‘Leaving Home: An HBCU Story”

Johnny J. Jones
Creative Director, TYPE Media
Twitter: @typemediausa
Facebook: TYPE Media

Campus Life Leaving Home

“Leaving Home: An HBCU Interview” with Melissa Valle

Melissa Valle, Howard University Alum describes her experience at an HBCU campus and recalls the day she left home to attend college.

Campus Life Leaving Home

Leaving Home: An HBCU Story – Episode One


Malcolm X’s view on HBCU’s

A short clip from an appearance by Malcolm X on a television show in Chicago called “City Desk” on March 17, 1963.

Campus Life

NCA&T Education Building featured in Go Structural Mag

North Carolina A&T University’s Samuel D. Proctor School of Education building was designed to make a statement. The intent of the university and architect was to create a building with a “wow factor” as the gateway into the revitalized main part of campus. This multi-award-winning building offers a unique visual experience and physically represents the university’s theme of creating a “catalyst for learning and leading.”

The 52-foot-long, 40-foot-wide, two-story-tall cantilever provides the visual impact. However, that was just one of the numerous challenges associated with this project, which required a finely tuned orchestra of team members to bring the entire design together. The building is located at the intersection of two main roads and is visible from all sides, so it had to be as aesthetically pleasing from the back door as it is from the front. The site slopes a full story height through the length of the building, causing a portion of the lowest level to be 17 feet below grade. The building has an intricate ribbon window wall panel system that parallels the long, lean shape of the building. The wide-open, three-story-tall, glass-encased entrance lobby, with its highly exposed ornamental stair, was a project within the project. All of these design challenges were met in the design process and carried out successfully during construction with everyone working together with an unparalleled team effort.

The building is a three-story, steel-framed structure housing classrooms, an auditorium, conference rooms, study rooms, and offices, including the Dean of the School of Education, who is proud to be located on the top floor at the end of the cantilever. The structural system consists of composite steel framing supported on steel columns with reinforced concrete spread footings. The lateral force resisting system of the main building is steel braced frames in one direction and ordinary steel moment frames in the other. The lateral system of the cantilevered portion of the building is built integrally with the gravity system to meet the challenge of the cantilever.

Campus Life

NCA&T’s “Tweet” Cook Makes 1st Team All-MEAC

GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T women’s basketball team won its third straight MEAC regular-season title and was rewarded for it. Five Aggies earned postseason honors headed by senior Ta’Wuana “Tweet” Cook’s first selection to the first-team all-MEAC squad.

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Campus Life

Welcome to Greensboro

A young activist takes us on a journey to her home city of Greensboro 1 year before the opening of the International Civil Rights Museum. The Museum opened yesterday.