Bring that college home

Monday, April 23, 2012

Over the weekend we went to Gainesville to attend my father's high school grand reunion ceremony (class of '57).  He was one of six people being inducted into the school's hall of fame.  My father and his peers grew up in the thick of segregation and despite the many challenges they faced, they were still able to go away to college and successfully make something of themselves.  What I didn't realize was how many of them came back to their hometown to build a community full of educators, entreprenuers, doctors, scientists and so much more.  There was a beautiful poem recited that night that was very fitting for the occasion.  I can't seem to get it out of my head and it really has me thinking of ways that I can better serve my own community.  The poem is called "Bring that College Home"

Bring that College Home
I been sending you off to college now for six or seven years
and ever since the moment you left me, I been shedding briny tears,
but, I thought of that old saying:  "Sunshine comes behind a storm".
so my young man, when you finish, you just bring that college home.

I been scrubbing over the washtubs, been sweating in the fields,
sometimes I had to borrow and almost had to steal.
But, I held on to my patience, beat them soap suds into foam,
and all the while, my heart kept saying, he's gonna bring that college home.

The folks here say you ain't gonna be nothing, just fooling your time away,
but I just shake my fist at them and tell them to wait till a future day!
So my young man, when the dogwood blossom and bees begin to hum,
I'll be waiting right here to see you bring that college home.

Now don't mind these folk here talking, they ain't half as good as you,
they just loves to nag on good folks, but that's all they know how to do.

I got plenty wood for the winter, 
plenty clothes to keep me warm,
so you just run on back to college, and when you finish, bring it home!
Now, I don't mean bring home them buildings and stuff, cause that'll wreck them good folks place,
But, bring home a Christian education and a high tone college grace.

Let the people here know what you've got by the speeches that you make,
By the spectacles you'll be wearing and by the way your coattail shakes;
but, don't get above these people,
settle down and cease to roam,
be a light in your community and build a college right here at home.

Author: anonymous


  1. Wow! This is such a moving poem. You must be so proud of your dad and proud to be part of a line of people who worked to hard to bring us where we are today. Cal just recently studied the Civil Rights Era in social studies and he was so proud to tell his teacher that his Ama (my mom) was at MLK's March on Washington. Just the other day we were talking about the Lily Ledbetter act and equal pay for women and he was incredulous: why wouldn't women get paid the same amount as a man for the same job. I feel so grateful that these things seem like no brainers to him. Civil rights. Equal pay. But at the same time, we can't let our kids forget, can we?

  2. Congratulations to your dad, Tori! The poem is really beautiful. That is no small accomplishment to go to college in his time and then return home to be a light in his community. Unfortunately, we still have much work to do in the equality department, don't we? Though, focusing on the progress that has been made seems like a more positive outlook to have. We've certainly come a long way.

  3. Wonderful sentiment. How amazing to be able to share that special moment with your father. I am sure you will find what it is that is tugging at your heart. I know you will be spectacular at it too :)


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