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Howard University Remembers Chadwick Boseman

By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer While the entertainment world deals with the news of movie star Chadwick Boseman’s death,  heartache remains among the Howard University family. Just over a week after the exhilarating news of the Democratic vice presidential nomination of California Senator and Howard alumna Kamala Harris, Boseman’s death came as heart-wrenching news that resonated with many of his classmates from the class of 2000 and the Bison community at large.

“My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble,” said Harris in a post on Twitter. “He left too early, but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family,”

The irony of Boseman’s death was that it happened on Aug. 28, which was Jackie Robinson Day. In 2013 Boseman burst onto the Hollywood scene in his iconic portrayal of Robinson in the biopic {42}.

Normally MLB would have celebrated Robinson’s life on April 15, the official day he broke baseball’s color barrier. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the late start to their abbreviated season it was delayed until Aug. 28. Boseman, who died at 43, gained legendary international notoriety for his leading role in {Black Panther}.

“It was Boseman’s desire to see the students of Howard achieve greatness,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick in a statement. “Together, he and I shared many conversations preparing plans for a project that would bring him back to campus, which was very close to being ready to announce. Although now he will not be here to witness the harvest of the seeds he planted, we will continue to water and cultivate them in his memory.”

In 2018, Boseman gave the commencement address at Howard and electrified the crowd with an inspiring speech that resonated with generations of their alumni and current students because of his roles where he distinguished himself by playing significant Black leaders. “I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and T’Challa,” Boseman said during the 150th keynote address.

Many remembered Boseman at ”The March of Generations” demonstration with a moment of silence. That peaceful protest was planned to bring awareness for greater federal funding for HBCUs, while increasing the curriculum that would teach African-American studies to public school children.

There is now a pop up memorial established on the Northwest, D.C. campus by current students who revere Boseman with hopes that the university will honor him with an everlasting monument. According to multiple reports, a petition asking Howard to rename their College of Fine Arts after Boseman has been started.

“I think we truly lost a superhero. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Chadwick Boseman became the Black Panther- a role like that is fate,” HU alumn, Darnelle Casimir told ABC7 News in D.C.

“He’s fulfilling his purpose. Even the fact that he was, this whole time, he had colon cancer and no one knew. He’s really a superhero, only a superhero can do that and that just means so much to us and it’s such a loss.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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