Harvard University*Harvard University is making history by holding a black-only graduation ceremony for students on Tuesday, May 23.

According to The Root, black Harvard students are organizing a ceremony intended solely for African-American graduates.

The Boston Globe reports the Harvard graduation will be held two days before the traditional graduation, and that students are also planning to attend the traditional commencement ceremony. Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg will be a featured speaker.

According to the Globe, the students will wear African-inspired attire during the black-only graduation. The event is being called Black Commencement 2017 and is the first of its kind at Harvard for black students. More than 170 students and 530 are registered to attend the ceremony.

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Apparently, other universities hold black-only graduation ceremonies to mark how black people continue to overcome hardships and persevere in spite of the challenges hurled at us.

Harvard graduates say the ceremony is “an effort to acknowledge the struggles and resilience that Black students have had to possess in order to thrive in higher education.”

Michael Huggins, a student graduating with a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, told The Root:

“It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community. [But] this is not about segregation,” he said. “It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”

The graduates were able to raise over $27,000 to pay for the ceremony and reception. Harvard reportedly holds the highest graduation rate for black students — 96 percent of undergraduates receive their diploma.

 

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