The Twenty-First Century Morehouse Man

Over its 140-year history, Morehouse College has graduated a large number of African-American men who have made their mark on the world. They include Martin Luther King Jr., former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, actor Samuel Jackson, filmmaker Spike Lee, government officials Louis Sullivan, David Satcher, and Henry Foster, and at least three U.S. congressmen.

The “Morehouse Man” was thought to epitomize what W.E.B. Du Bois regarded as the “Talented Tenth.” Its graduates were groomed to become the leaders of the African-American community.

How does this tradition fit in with the Morehouse College of today? In giving his introductory remarks to this year’s freshman class, Morehouse President Robert M. Franklin Jr., himself a Morehouse graduate, stated, “You are the pride of the world. You are the answers to the prayers of your ancestors.” He urged them to strive to embody five characteristics: “well-read, well-traveled, well-dressed, well-spoken, and well-balanced.”

President Franklin thanked the families for nurturing their sons and grandsons so that they could achieve the success required for admission to Morehouse College. “You are leaving them in good hands,” Franklin reassured them, “and we will make them into Morehouse Men. And because of that, the world will be a better place.”