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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Morehouse president wants to develop socially conscious "Renaissance Men"

In unveiling his vision for the country's only historically black, all-male college, newly confirmed president Robert Franklin said it's time to take our people to the next level by producing brothers of character who will graduate and make a difference.

Franklin said he wants the 2,800 young, black men under his stewardship to understand that they carry with them "the hopes and prayers of a lot of people." In the next few months, students are supposed to read King's sermon, "Three Dimensions of a Complete Life," "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?"

The 1975 alum also wants to "begin a conversation about a culture of dignity and decorum" that includes encouraging respect for women and a proposed dress code. "We want Morehouse Men to look the part, act the part, talk the talk, and walk the walk," Franklin said. He is also placing a priority on strengthening the school's relationship with the surrounding community, which sits in the shadow of downtown Atlanta and is black and economically depressed.

Franklin's most recent book, "Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities," published this year, calls on the black church and historically black colleges to play a role in improving such communities. "We will be exporting this message to the surrounding community," Franklin said, adding that he has invited young men who live near campus to visit Morehouse. "We want to make being smart cool again." He hopes to continue successful fundraising efforts at Morehouse. Last year, the school capped a $119 million capital campaign boosted by the acquisition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, which are owned by the college.

Being a Morehouse grad, I am totally feeling what the brother is trying to do and applaud him big time for stepping up to the plate and assuming this responsiblity. We'll be watching and keeping you updated on what's jumping off in Atlanta


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