JCSU empowering students to be leaders in their communities


Johnson C. Smith University student Justin Nixon is moderating a lecture series featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. (Spectrum News 1/Jennifer Roberts)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina student is crediting a Historically Black College and University for empowering students to be leaders, on and off the campus grounds.

Justin Nixon is a political science major at Johnson C. Smith University.

The junior has made a name for himself as a leader across the JCSU and Charlotte communities.

“I appreciate JCSU tremendously for everything they’ve done for me,” Nixon said. 

Nixon was part of a fellowship with the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium. He also served as a democracy fellow for organizations committed to civic engagement. 

Nixon was recently initiated into the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at Johnson C. Smith University. 

“I serve as the social action chair and vice president of the chapter, where I focus a lot on social activism and address the pressing needs of both the local community and the campus,” Nixon said. 

He said studying at JCSU has been a transformational experience for him, both personally and professionally.

“When I was a senior in high school back in 2021, I was not sure if I wanted to go to college, of if I was even prepared to go and succeed there,” Nixon said. “But the faculty and staff made me feel welcome. They made me feel I could do whatever it is I set my mind to.”

HBCUs have played a crucial role in empowering Black leaders and students on the front lines of social justice.

“[We’ve had] Dick Gregory lecturing at JCSU in the 1970s,” Nixon said. “We’ve also had Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., come and talk to our students.” 

Nixon says JCSU professors and staff members are continuing that legacy.