Welcome to our 2025 Spotlights! We have REUNITED and welcome the classes of 2024 and 2025 to our hallowed grounds in person for the first time. The men of Morehouse showcased in this series are a selection [from the many] students who exemplify the quintessential Morehouse student: enterprising, audacious, inquisitive, tenacious, creative, and unapologetic. The College is shining a light from its hilltop on the scholars who will soon be carrying the torch themselves.
It was a no-brainer for James McGee II, 18, to place Morehouse College at the top of his school list. Besides fulfilling his mother’s dream for him to attend the College, McGee knew that the illustrious institution was necessary for his development as a forward-thinking leader.
Growing up in Kansas City, McGee said visitors and new residents often get easily pulled into the glitz and glamour of the city’s downtown Country Club Plaza or enjoy their fair share of world-famous barbecue. But for longtime residents, there’s an undercurrent of disenfranchisement and discrimination that permeates the city that has fueled many like McGee to become a change agent.
“If you open your eyes when just walking down the street east to west or vice versa there is a noticeable change in the quality of housing. You can see it in the physical appearances of the schools or by the students’ state standardized test results,” he said. “When you see this from a young age you start to think to yourself, ‘how can I as one person out of half a million change this?’”
That question led him to create the Black Archives Youth Coalition Network, with the help of Dr. Carmaletta Williams, executive director of the Black Archives of Mid-America. The goal of the group is to house healthy dialogue about community issues that affected us as youth and being civically engaged.
Weekly meetings would consist of topics like colorism in the media and Black male affection. The group also led a voter registration drive for the 2020 election cycle.
“One thing I didn’t want for our group was to be a bunch of people complaining about problems and not finding ways to solve them,” McGee said.
When McGee starts this fall, he wants to be engaged both academically and civically through community service that allows him to create opportunities for younger people to get involved. He has his sights set on graduating with a degree in political science and pursuing a law degree in the future.
“My decision to attend Morehouse came down to three things which is the political activity in Atlanta, close vicinity to family, and the fact that Morehouse was is the only school that equips me to create change in our community…When I walk away from the illustrious institution that is Morehouse, I hope that I can accomplish what God set on my heart and that’s to lead people to be more civically active, starting on the college level,” he said.
McGee says the leaders he’s inspired by include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., former President Barack Obama, and Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — individuals he said look to their fellow man or woman to seek the humanity in them.
“As a leader you are no different from those who look to you for guidance, you are just the person who drives them to accomplish a mission that the group has set out for,” McGee said. “That is how you lead. I hope to use the skills I learned at home in Kansas City to be a member of organizations that build civic engagement and financial literacy.”
Welcome to The House, James!