A true testament of Black excellence was displayed at the Southern California Alumni Association Lincoln University of Pennsylvania’s (SCAALU of PA) third Annual Christmas Party. Lincoln University Alumni gathered for food and fellowship at Harold and Belle’s, in Los Angeles. Host and founding President of the chapter, Leslie Freeman, coordinated an enjoyable luncheon and highlighted fellow alumni, Anderson Pollard.
Founded in 1854, Lincoln University was the first degree granting Historically Black College/ University (HBCU) in the United States. Since their founding, Lincoln University has achieved more than 50 international and national “firsts” and is one of the top 50 schools nationwide for social mobility. Highly notable graduates of the university include Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, and Roscoe Lee Browne.
The University’s current President, Dr. Brenda A. Allen, is prioritizing academic quality and improving operational effectiveness through the curriculum, faculty support, expanding co-curricular opportunities, and reconstructing the administration team, to remain as one of the top liberal arts school in the country. The institutions core values of respect, responsibility, and results, still hold true through their rich history as an HBCU.
Freeman established Lincoln’s Southern California Alumni Chapter in 2018, and while describing her role in coordinating and managing the association, she said “continuous updates about the university and constant communication help. Our goals include sustainability and exposure. We want to focus on invigorating and encouraging young people and young alumni. Even though there has been a lot of transitions through the ages, our chapter keeps growing.” Honorable alumni, Herb Wesson, described Freeman as the glue that keeps the association together.
The former President of the Los Angeles City Council and Speaker of the California State Assembly shared, “the University ingrained public service into us. You come out of school giving back, serving the community, that’s what we did. Most of the people that went to Lincoln, those of us of a certain age, we always give back because that’s in our nature. So the values that are Lincoln values are our values.”
As the celebration of Black excellence continued, the man of the hour, was recognized by the SCAALU and his fellow alumni. Anderson Pollard was gifted a recognition award from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., for 75 years of brotherhood, social work, and public service. When asked about his alma mater, “our dear orange and blue”, Pollard reminisced about the comradery he found at Lincoln, and major life changes that happened during his time in Pennsylvania.
“The main thing I got from Lincoln were the friendships we made for life. We lived on the border of the Mason-Dixon Line, and I was reading about in South Carolina how students helped break down the lunch counters. Way back in 47 and 48 we were breaking down the lunch counters in Oxford at restaurants and movie houses. Years later it went to the grand jury in Pennsylvania, and they finally desegregated [the university].”
Lincoln Alumni Dr. Dwight Lee added, “when I graduated from Lincoln, one third of all the Black doctors and dentists in the United States of America were undergraduates at Lincoln University. During that time the medical schools were segregated, you had Howard University and Meharry Medical College. They would get most of their classes from Lincoln grads and Morehouse grads, and that was one of their formulas of success because they knew we didn’t play; we were there seriously to get degrees. Affirmative action was also happening, and the white schools were opening up to us. I was very fortunate because I got a full ride to the University of Pittsburgh, and I was able to stay an extra year to get a master’s degree in Public Health.”
In 2019 SCALLU’s Vice President, Fred Thomas Jr., directed and produced the film, Lincoln Legends. The short video features honoree and military veteran Anderson Pollard, Ernest Levister Jr., MD, and Poland native Vic Cole. Each legend was interviewed and recounted their experiences attending an HBCU in the 1950s.
As Lincoln continues to give their students the tools the learn, liberate, and lead, it’s clear the Dear Old Orange and Blue has added to the lifeline of Black History.