WSU African American graduation honors achievement, perseverance in its 25th year

A freshman at Wayne State University six years ago, Jasmyne Brantley watched from the wings as African American students on the cusp of graduation paraded through campus with families and friends in tow, beaming proudly and rejoicing collectively over hard-won academic achievements.

The university’s official Commencement was still weeks away — but for Brantley, this gathering was, in its own way, just as powerful.

It was her first time witnessing the Wayne State African American Graduation Celebration — the annual ceremony honoring black graduates that comes just ahead of the official university Commencement — and Brantley, then a first-year volunteer for the event, promised herself that it wouldn’t be her last.

“I remember seeing all of the graduates and tearing up…

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