Mr. Reggie Sharpe Jr. is the President of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants program, President of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society, Chaplain of Alpha Rho Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and preaching assistant at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia. He is a senior and majors in Religious Studies. He plans to attend grad school at Harvard, University of Chicago or Yale to earn a Master’s of Divinity.
If you ever walk on the campus of Morehouse College, you will find the ashes of Benjamin Elijah Mays, the residence hall named after W.E.B DuBois, the resource center named after Frederick Douglas, the statue in the honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the memorial named after Dr. Howard Thurman. And so, Sharpe says, “It’s powerful to walk with other brothers at Morehouse on the same campus that other prominent figures walked on.” He went on to say, most of the learning experiences he encountered have been with his colleagues and Morehouse has stretched his mind to think more proficiently. Sharpe values transformative conversations with his peers, thus, making him a teachable and humble young preacher. His experience also teaches him to be more inclusive with other faiths.
I asked him about his views on HBCU’s versus regular schools. He profoundly stated that HBCU’s have a goal for empowerment. Morehouse empowers one to fit anywhere. Hence, fitting anywhere is essential. He alluded to the tragedy of how members of the Sikh religious faith cannot fit in America’s diverse religious identifications because they are not safe in their own religious sanctuaries.
There was a debate on Twitter a few weeks ago on the benefits of HBCU’s. There was a high school student who believed that HBCU’s have no impact on students and do not present students opportunities beyond graduation. As a result, I asked Sharpe what he would say, if asked, to high schools students who are hesitant about enrolling in HBCU’s. He talked about the significance of researching notable people who attended the schools that students are interested in because looking at the track record of institutions serves as an essential tool for finding any great school. He also talked about abandoning the mindset of only picking a college that will get you a great career. Sharpe insightfully said, “College should stretch you.” The tragedy in our world is that our students are running to the schools that give them better job opportunities rather than the schools that stretch them.
Reverend Otis Moss III, a Morehouse graduate, says in his book Preach, “You can get a good education from a poor school and you can get a bad education from a rich school.” Moss and Sharpe are simply trying to say: despite the lack of financial succor, HBCU’s still present a transformative education.
I asked Sharpe if he had a solution to all of the violence that occurs in our society, since his preaching has social justice implications. Thus, he had the pleasure to attend the Peace Conference in Tokyo, Japan as a commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He asked me a very transformative question, since I am a preacher also. He specified, “How do we stand for the Prince of Peace and live in violent neighborhoods and not say anything?” Sharpe mentioned the importance of addressing the violence we see in America today because solutions can be stirred from addressing problems. It is evident that Reggie Sharpe will continue to address the relevant problems in our society, his rare preaching and leadership skills resound around the campus of Morehouse and in many pulpits around our nation.