“The Real HU” ... Though no longer required, Hampton and Howard made it a priority to keep playing

By Tony Brown, the Dean Emeritus and Professor of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications and the First and Founding Dean and Professor of the Howard University School of Communications


  • Coordinator of the “Walk To Freedom with Martin Luther King, Jr.” in Detroit (1963), according to the July 29, 1963 edition of Business Week magazine, “the largest civil rights march in history.”
  • WINNER of the prestigious Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  • 2015-2016 National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Black Emmy Nominee – 1989 Special Recognition Award Winner
  • Tony Brown’s Journal” (TV series): “The Most Complete and Thoughtful Record of African-American Opinion.”

Much of the news you hear and read about Chicago surrounds the trial of a Black television actor and the record number of Black gang bangers who would rather kill other Black people than enjoy a good meal.

For a change of pace, try “The Real HU,” an editorial in the Daily Press newspaper in Newport News, VA, a few miles from Hampton University, a predominately Black university.

“The Real HU” editorial states:

“It will be HU and HU on Saturday in Chicago in a showcase for HBCUs. Hampton University and Howard University, the proud alma maters of Booker T. Washington and Thurgood Marshall, will be playing football – and though the two campuses are located barely three hours apart, they will be played almost 900 miles away at Soldier Field in Chicago.

“The occasion is the 22nd annual Chicago Football Classic, conceived by city leaders as a way to expose students to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the culture surrounding them.” (“The Real HU,” Daily Press, Op-Ed, 9/13/19)

Though no longer required, Hampton and Howard made it a priority to keep playing.  With the two programs now in different football conferences, Hampton and Howard are no longer required to play each other. But how else to decide The Real HU?

So, after a brief hiatus in 2018, which neither side wanted, the Hampton University Pirates and the Howard University Bison are back on schedule. On Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 in Chicago is the first of a four-year deal that will likely be extended beyond that.

“We’ve always considered the Hampton game more than just a conference football or basketball game,” Howard athletic director Kery Davis said. “It was more of an event for us. So, when Hampton left the conference, it was natural that we’d be interested in playing them again.” (“It’s Bigger Than A Conference,” Dave Johnson, Daily Press, 9/14/19)

“If you understand Hampton, you understand Howard. You understand the bands and the fans. On the HBCU level, this is Auburn-Alabama. This is what you come here for,” said Hampton Pirates coach Robert Prunty.

This will be the first Hampton-Howard game, as a coach or player, for first-year Howard Bison coach Ron Prince. But he’s been educated.

“I think this is one of the games that people point to as two excellent institutions that are highly regarded for how they prepare people for the future and develop leaders. The football game that comes with it is a celebration of those two institutions,” Prince said.

As the dean emeritus of Hampton’s Script Howard School of Journalism and Communications and the first and founding dean of Howard’s School of Communications, I am very proud of the pride in African-American culture that these two major institutions of higher learning exemplify.

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