On a residential college campus like Longwood, much of the learning takes place through the act of conversation—people of different backgrounds and experiences talking and listening, long after class, in residence halls and over meals.
At Longwood, there’s a student known for starting many of those conversations. Mikah HoSang ’18, of Chesapeake, an academically accomplished student who aspires to be a residence life supervisor, is also head resident assistant in ARC Quad, where he is often spotted posting notices on bulletin boards about discussion groups and other programming related to the importance of diversity and equal opportunity.
In recognition of his efforts to help his fellow students learn from one another, Longwood has awarded HoSang one of its highest honors—the 2017 Moton Legacy Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a young man or woman with great promise for a life and career of citizen leadership, advancing in a contemporary context the ideals espoused by those who fought for equal opportunity in Longwood’s home communities of Farmville and Prince Edward. It covers full tuition for one year.
HoSang, a kinesiology major with a 3.5 GPA and a head student supervisor for Longwood Dining Services, taps into his own experience as a biracial, ﬁrst-generation college student who grew up in a military family, moving frequently from state to state.
With a mixed African and Asian background (his ancestry is Jamaican and Chinese), HoSang said he struggled to ﬁt in. But his experience at Longwood, where he has encountered students from a range of backgrounds, helped cement a strong sense of self and a determination to help others struggling with identity issues.
Like many Longwood students, HoSang arrived on campus four years ago without having heard the Moton story or about the courage of Barbara Johns and her fellow students when they went on strike over conditions at their segregated high school in 1951. But like most who walk through the doors of the Moton Museum, created in the former school building, HoSang couldn’t help but be moved by the story. It helped inspire him to lead efforts to make the campus Black History Month celebration more meaningful.
“Black history doesn’t need a month, it needs to be in every conversation we have,” he said. “This community was front and center in the national conversation about justice and equality when the Moton students walked out of their school 60 years ago, and it’s up to every one of us to stand up for those principles today.”
HoSang also takes pride in helping fellow students who are struggling with issues of sexual identity and working to help make Longwood a place of acceptance.
“Having an ongoing conversation about LGBTQ+ issues is really important to give other students a basic understanding of what sexuality and sexual identity means,” he said. "I’ve found that if you understand something a little better, you can come to accept something that maybe you would have been reticent to accept before.”