Over the weekend, a photo of a Morehouse professor holding a student's baby so he could effectively take notes went viral. Initially, many people reacted to the image by praising Dr. Nathan Alexander for the gesture. However, the conversation quickly turned into a general appreciation for the men and women who teach at HBCUs.
In interview with Buzzfeed, Alexander said that while he is not a father himself, the entire experience with baby Assata (named after the godmother of Tupac Assata Shakur) was a walk in the park.
"I'm not a father, I don't have children of my own," he said. "I was worried that she would start crying. But it actually went perfectly. She was extremely well-behaved."
During class, another student photographed the precious moment.
The photo quickly went viral and Dr. Alexander was praised for supporting a young student who did not have access to childcare. In a Facebook post, the baby's mother explained why the father had the child for the day.
"Wayne works two jobs and is a full-time student. He's rarely at home because he's out there providing for us. With us being thousands of miles away from family and friends, I'm usually left with the baby to myself. Anyone who is and has been a new mommy understands how overwhelming it can get. Wayne wanted to give me a break. Plus, he'd get to spend more time with Assata in the process," she wrote.
Dr. Alexander's compassion and the story of Wayne's determination reminded many people why HBCUs are not just education centers, but are also necessary staples of the community.