When Morgan State University alum Travis Mitchell (Class of ’92) was in preschool, the campus of Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, was his playground. His mother, uncle and aunt worked on campus, so he often played there after school while waiting for his mother to finish work. However, as he continued to grow in years, he also grew in awareness of the value of growing up on an HBCU campus, feeling affirmed by the largely African American group of students, faculty and staff members he knew and by the unwavering support the alumni showed the school. In many ways, he says, it became his “Wakanda.”
“When it came time for me to choose a college, I did so as an athlete, a basketball player. I was also an honors student with a solid GPA and SAT scores and many AP courses on my transcript,” Mitchell says. “I had plenty of colleges recruiting me and did not face the Jim Crow restrictions that my parents had.”
However, because of his connection with Shaw University, the type of college experience he desired was already defined. “I was in search of an HBCU experience,” albeit a little farther from home.
That was when Mitchell’s father, a Shaw Hall of Fame player and coach, introduced him to Morgan State University’s basketball coach, Nat Frazier, who recruited him to Morgan with an offer to play basketball. He also received a full academic honors scholarship.
When his basketball career at Morgan ended early, he became an assistant editor and later editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Spokesman. In this capacity, he says, his identity expanded from student editor to student leader, which contributed to the development and growth of Morgan State University as a whole.