Kilpatrick was an All-City football player at Cass Tech in Detroit, MI, and was hoping to receive a scholarship helping him to afford college. Preparing for his collegiate future, his senior year in high school he participated in the Detroit Branch NAACP’s Black College tour.
The NAACP‘s group traveled to modest schools such as Livingstone College in North Carolina, Tennessee’s Fisk University and Virginia State. The experience left Kilpatrick only more anxious. He began understanding the gravity of the decision and the seriousness with which this decision would change his life. College wasn’t just about any one thing for him. It was to be a culmination of education, lifestyle and preparation for his career.
Later that year, he and his father visited Central Michigan and Bowling Green State Universities. He experienced a culture shock when touring both campuses. It was common for visiting football players to be hosted by current team players. They’d share both the academic and social side of campus life. And of course, they went to a few school parties. It was wild, crazy; and ultimately not what he wanted.
Through a family friend, Kwame Kilpatrick learned of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) located in Tallahasse, FL . Shortly thereafter he visited with his father. From the moment they arrived and were whisked off to a sporting event, Kilpatrick knew this was the school for him. He felt comfortable, inspired and was given the opportunity to thrive.
By sophomore year, Tallahasse became Kilpatrick‘s home. With the exception of trips back to Detroit during Christmas and the Summer, he resided in Florida.
In Kwame Kilpatrick‘s own words “The men and women of FAMU truly believed that they had a responsibility to their community, and that they were born to serve. This people, and this place, would shape me, and make me who I am today.”
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