The MEAC/SWAC Challenge has decided that it will honor Chadwick Boseman as it kicks off the 2022 college football season.
The game between Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference representative Howard University and Southwestern Athletic Conference representative Alabama State is set to take place on August 27th at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. John Grant, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge executive director, told HBCU Gameday that the timing to honor Boseman, a Howard alumnus, was something that wasn’t originally planned.
“Howard University and Alabama State are both steeped in history with their alumni and this year is significant for us,” Grant said at the kickoff press conference. “A lot of circumstances occurred over the last three years that we didn’t know because we put this together not knowing that in 2020, Chadwick Boseman would pass away, not knowing that Marvel Studios would also film Black Panther II in Atlanta, and also not knowing that the release of that film would also happen this year, on November the 11th.”
Chadwick Boseman attended and graduated from Howard before going on to launch an acting career that included him in roles playing iconic figures such as James Brown, Jackie Robinson, THURGOOD MARSHALL and many others, along with the role of T’Challa in the Marvel series and feature film “Black Panther.” He got a chance to deliver Howard’s commencement address in 2018. Boseman died tragically at the age of 39 in 2020 due to colon cancer.
With his alma mater entering the MEAC/SWAC Challenge showcase for the first time, he continues to be a part of the legacy for the school as well all HBCUs and the community at large.
“This gave us an opportunity to really pay homage to a person that represented some iconic figures in the black community. And because he died during COVID, we never really got a chance to do that as a community,” Grant said. “Well, this game will be that opportunity.”