On Oct. 21, Howard University celebrated 150 years of Black excellence and annual homecoming traditions.

Howard University cheerleaders take a knee, in protest to the way Blacks are treated in the country, during the singing of the national anthem at the Homecoming game on Oct. 21. (Photo by Rob Roberts)

Thousands of Black professionals, from doctors, to lawyers, singers, and pastors, took to Georgia Avenue in upper Northwest, where Howard is located, for homecoming events such as the Homecoming Parade, Homecoming Football Game and Homecoming Tailgate.

Much of Georgia Avenue was blocked off and traffic delayed due to the parade, which featured this year’s Grand Marshall La La Anthony, an actress, author, producer and entrepreneur, along with various performances from the Duke Ellington High School show band, which has performed at several homecoming events in in the past.

The parade route also included thousands of Howard students, alumni and supporters walking up and down the street waving and cheering for the university.

After the parade, people headed to Greene stadium for the Homecoming University Bisons Football Game against the Morgan State University Bears.

Howard University’s Marching Band played the Star Spangled Banner.

“During the national anthem, the entire cheerleading squad knelt,” said Lamoth Haynie, Support Staff with the Morgan State Marching Machine, about the Howard University cheerleaders. Howard’s cheerleaders have been kneeling during the anthem for the past year in support of racial justice.

The Morgan State cheerleaders did not kneel with Howard, because their coach instructed them not to.

“It was good to see that they wanted to show their support for what’s going on.  I think everybody should’ve either been sitting down or had their backs turned. It’s a lot going on and people are focusing on the wrong things.  What they need to focus on is all the injustices and things that are going on right now,” Haynie told the AFRO.

According to a Howard cheerleader, the squad was not permitted to speak to the media.

The Bisons defeated the Bears 39-14.

“As a former Miss Howard and Miss Collegiate African American, I was so proud and grateful to be a part of the 150th Homecoming of my alma mater,” Roz White told the AFRO.  “I was crowned Miss Howard shortly after the 125th celebration.  So, homecoming to me represents dreams coming to fruition.” As a native Washingtonian, Howard is a special place for White and her family.

Furthermore, as a HBCU, White said she feels Howard’s homecoming is an important aspect to the Black community at large.

“It is a very special time where reflection and celebration unite the Black community, and give us hope for our future history makers,” White said.