“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”- Soren
If you’re a current student attending Florida A&M University now, the news about the demolition of McGuinn, Diamond, Cropper, and Wheatley may not be such a big deal for you.
Demolition started on the historic dorms last month to make room for a $2.7 million amphitheater, that was proposed by the Student Government Association ( yes the current students wanted this). And plans are also in motion to build a new $55 million 700-bed student residence hall near South Martin Luther King Boulevard and Osceola Street. Needless to say, the future of FAMU looks upgraded. However, if you’re part of my generation ( c/o 2008) and a little beyond and before, the headline was and is a tough pill to swallow.
For my generation, it was hallway surfing down the hallways of McGuinn and Diamond and the smell of roman noodles and hair conditioning over the weekend. It was the infamous panty raids ( go outside if you DARE when you hear dem Ques lol), it was penthouse moments in McGuinn, that awkward meeting with your ‘boo thing’ in the lobby (because no boys allowed were allowed past in hallway, try sneaking them in if you want!). It was the basement girls from Miami who taught the rest of us Florida girls what ‘Lip Bitin’ Animal’ was and showed us that jukin’ wasn’t just a dance grandma did at the family reunions anymore. In exchange, Tampa girls taught everyone else how to K-Wang With It and everybody knew the dorms with the best hair braiders and weave slayers were Cropper and Diamond.
Those are my memories, we’ve all had great memories., including those who came before me. My sister stayed in Cropper 222 in the early-mid 90s, during an age that many Rattlers like to refer to as the ‘Golden Age’. And 20 years ago, my mother was right next door in Diamond 278.
Change is not easy but it is always necessary. And let’s not assume the demolition of these historical buildings was an overnight one. But the tearing down of the dorms does not have to represent the demolition of our memories, which will always live in our hearts. As much as we love those ‘good times’ and good ‘ol days’, we must also be able to accept and embrace change. The FAMU my mother went to is not the same FAMU my sister went to, nor was it the same FAMU when I was there and it will not be the same FAMU when my teenage niece or future children (we can only hope) go there. But it is still FAMU. It is still our university that we love and pride with every fiber of our being.
Instead of mourning what we have lost, let’s celebrate what’s to come. Because as far as I can see, FAMU is striking into a golden and innovative future.
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.