BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Among those watching the historic inauguration of the nation’s first woman Vice-President this week were two longtime Birmingham friends.
Majella Chube Hamilton and Herschell Hamilton met Kamala Harris in the mid-80s when they were students at Howard University in Washington D.C.
Majella was president of the campus chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated when Harris was initiated into the sorority.
The Hamiltons say as is often the case at historically black colleges and universities, they, Harris, and others on campus developed a strong bond that has lasted for decades.
They say Harris’ immediate interest in debate and student government helped her find a place on campus, says Herschell Hamilton, who had several friends who encountered Harris in those spaces.
“She came in as a freshman and was embraced--was literally just like, embraced by this group of people because she was engaged in a lot of activities, so debate was a natural for her and student government became a natural as well,” he says.
Leadership was one of Harris’ qualities that stood out, says Majella Chube Hamilton.
“And not just leadership, but she was extremely compassionate and very serious about those issues that were impacting the community around our university and beyond our university.”
As proud as they are of their friend’s election as the first woman of color to serve as Vice President, they are also concerned for her safety, especially in the wake of the assault on the capitol two weeks before her inauguration.
“I worried all during (former President Barack) Obama’s term for his safety and that carries on for her as well,” says Herschell.
While they pray for the safety of Harris and President Joe Biden, Majella says they are sustained by a biblical passage from the book of Romans 12:12: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in all tribulation and be constant in prayer.”