Three generations of Morehouse men strive to continue a family legacy of HBCU graduates

Morehouse College has become part of the family tradition for three generations of Morehouse men, captured in a photo that went viral.

Norman Thomas Sr., Norman Thomas Jr. and Norman Thomas III all share the same name and are coming in 2026, all are expected to be graduates of Morehouse College in Atlanta.

“They talk about the Morehouse mysticism, but what is it? The mystical is confidence, not arrogance, it’s the confidence to know what you’re called or compelled to do, no one can tell you you can’t do it,” said Norman Thomas Jr., a 1996 graduate of Morehouse College with an A Degree in early childhood education.

Norman Thomas Jr. is currently the elementary school principal and pastor of a church in Decatur, Georgia, and he is also the son of a Morehouse husband and father of one. Thomas Jr. says he was always inspired to attend Morehouse growing up, in large part because of his father, who graduated from Morehouse in 1965.

“He always told me that’s a good Morehouse brother, even the doctor he went to he always made sure it was someone from Morehouse,” Norman Thomas Jr. said.

Norman Thomas Sr., 78, has a degree in history. While he was a student, civil rights activists including Benjamin Mays, the president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. present on campus.

“When he was talking about them, people seemed larger than life, so he was talking about Dr. Mays, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurmond, the great theologian who would address them in chapel on Tuesday,” said Norman Thomas Jr… reflecting on words his father shared about Morehouse in the 1960s.

Growing up, Thomas Jr. says his father taught him the value of strong Morehouse connections. “He always told me that’s a good Morehouse brother, even the doctor he went to he always made sure it was someone from Morehouse,” Norman Thomas Jr. said.

For that reason, although Thomas Sr. is now coping with dementia and prostate cancer, Thomas Jr. wanted his son Norman Thomas III, 17, to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, to continue the legacy and walk campus together for as long as they all still can.

“I would tell him about Thurmond Hall and Dad would tell him about Graves Hall and by the way my son will be staying at Graves Hall in the same dormitory as his grandfather,” Thomas Jr. said of conversations with his son about becoming a third-generation Morehouse man.

“I wanted to fill some big shoes and follow that lead and I felt like going to Morehouse, it would look good for me and I would also be carrying on a legacy,” Thomas III said of his decision to commit to Morehouse this fall walk.

Thomas III plans to major in biology and sports medicine after graduation in 2026 to work with Major League Baseball I look forward to experiencing as a Morehouse man.

“Morehouse’s Instagram page was reposted and there were many other pages and that’s what made me connect so many with people who attended Morehouse and Morehouse Alumnus,” Thomas III said of the viral photo and its impact.

“I didn’t do it to make it viral, I just wanted to capture the moment. So if anything ever happens we will document it, you were here while your grandfather was here, your daddy was here so you can understand the seriousness of that moment,” Thomas Jr. said of the viral photo, which spanned three generations of Normans on the Morehouse campus.

The elder Thomas says he’s excited to see his son begin his college career as Morehouse, filled with the confidence he needs to achieve anything he sets his mind to.

Norman Thomas III hopes to continue the family legacy with a fourth generation of Morehouse graduates for years to come.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/06/27/the-morehouse-mystique-three-generations-of-morehouse-men-eager-to-continue-a-family-legacy-of-hbcu-graduates/ Three generations of Morehouse men strive to continue a family legacy of HBCU graduates

Dustin Huang

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