Inspired by Dr. King, UNCF HBCU Student Recognized for Fighting for Equality

Students and faculty at UNCF HBCUs have always been leaders in the fight for civil rights and equal opportunity.  So it’s no surprise that among the students at UNCF-member HBCU Spelman College is Meggie Noel, who in 2016 was named one of Boston Magazine’s Bostonians of the Year for calling out systemic racism at her high school, the prestigious Boston Latin School.

Noel, a UNCF Boston scholar, and high school classmate Kylie Webster-Cazeau were spurred to address the racial climate at their school after reading racist tweets sent by fellow Boston Latin students following a 2014 grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Their social media campaign sparked a citywide community outcry, investigations and reforms at the school. “Their activism and assertiveness would change the debate about race—not just inside one of Boston’s most esteemed institutions, but across the city itself,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen.

Meggie Noel
Meggie Noel

A turning point came, Cullen wrote, “when at Latin’s annual assembly remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., [a graduate of UNCF-HBCU Morehouse College, which shares a campus with Spelman and UNCF-HBCU Clark Atlanta University] Noel and Webster-Cazeau realized they needed not to reflect on the slain civil rights leader but to emulate him.”

Noel credits UNCF and UNCF Boston for helping her stay in Spelman to complete her education. “Completing my first year of college would not have been possible without the guidance of the Boston UNCF staff,” she says. “In the middle of the semester, when I was told I had an unpaid balance on my account, and I knew there was no way for me to pay it off, UNCF saved my education and my future. For that, I am forever grateful to the dedicated and loving UNCF staff in Boston.”

“I am currently pursuing a history major with a dual minor in African diaspora and the world and sociology with hopes of becoming a civil rights attorney,” she adds. “Choosing to attend Spelman College was the best decision of my life.”