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Harvard University’s Black Graduate Student Alliance held its first Black Commencement, which celebrated African-American graduates from the institution’s graduate schools, reports Harvard Magazine.

From Harvard Magazine:

This first Black Commencement drew national attention when it was announced earlier this month—some if it negative, suggesting that it represented a form of segregation or racial resentment. Segregation could not have been a less fitting analogy. Today’s attendees, friends and family members of all races, watched as students received their stoles, an occasion to reflect on the uniqueness of the black student experience and to mark students’ contributions to, not their separateness from, the academic community.

The ceremony was organized against a backdrop of renewed racial-justice activism at Harvard and in the nation in general: Last year, under pressure from students, the law school abandoned its official seal because it represented the crest of a slave-owning family, and, later, President Drew Faust publicly recognized Harvard’s links to slavery.

According to the outlet, the commencement ceremony featured four student speakers, and graduates were draped with kente stoles by the school’s deans when they walked across the stage.

SOURCE: Harvard Magazine

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Black Harvard Students To Host Own Graduation Ceremony

Harvard Lays Bare Its Historical Ties To Slavery