Perhaps it can’t be proven but we know it’s true: NC A&T State University invented the HBCU homecoming as we know it today.
Show us the lie.
This means that A&T is one of the most important entities in the city of Greensboro and the Greatest Homecoming on Earth, known as GHOE to everyone who isn’t totally clueless, one of its most important events.
And while it’s true that “official Greensboro” — meaning city government, the white business community, the mainstream media, various muckety-mucks and other people who have a seat at the table — are more or less boosters for GHOE these days, it has not always been thus.
Longtime Greensboroans might remember the many times A&T and its annual Bacchanal have been used as political footballs, like in 2007 when council voted to curtail vending on Lindsay Street. Believe it or not, the mayor of Greensboro did not always ride in the GHOE parade.
Some of us remember the old Rhinoceros Times crusading against GHOE in content that has either since been scrubbed from the internet or never made it there in the first place, and overtly racist calls made to their “Sound of the Beep” column, which was just their answering machine transcribed on the page. Some of us remember the complaints from (white) downtown business owners and other (white) concerned citizens about the (Black) crowds GHOE attracted and the (Black) people who profited from it. We remember conservative bloggers and politicos using GHOE as a dogwhistle.
But just like you can’t find anyone around town these days who was against the ballpark — and we can assure you, a great many were, including that defunct, conservative, one-horned newspaper — you won’t hear too many (white) folks speaking out against GHOE these days except for maybe the least muckety of the mucks and the few hardcore racist holdouts who keep threatening to move out of the city but never seem to do it.
So it’s true that racism is still a big problem in Greensboro — is perhaps one if its driving forces, still — and that progress comes slowly and awkwardly.
But it is some kind of progress that we don’t have city council members sounding off about the “problems” with GHOE in official meetings anymore, and that quashing the Greatest Homecoming on Earth is no longer a viable campaign issue.
Maybe now’s a good time to bring back Superjam.
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