Nightly News   |  December 08, 2013

How Nelson Mandela impacted Howard University

Some Howard University students weren’t even born when Nelson Mandela spoke at the school, but his legacy still resonates at the historically black college. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> commitment has never been stronger. finally tonight, it was not long after he became president of south africa that nelson mandela returned to washington and paid a visit to the campus of howard university . his presence there is still being felt after all those years. here's nbc's kristin welker.

>>> ist master of my fate.

>> some of the students here at howard university were not even born when nelson mandela spoke on their campus in 1994 , a few years after their release from prison.

>> reporter: it is with gratitude that we remember the ways in which our university embraced and supported the liberation struggle in south africa .

>> today, the young men and women at this historically black college say those words and then mandela's legacy still resonate.

>> reporter: he taught that no one is born hating anyone. you're taught that. and if you can be taught to hate, you can be taught to love.

>> he wanted love. it was his most powerful message.

>> i think the most important lesson is just, never give up and just never allow yourself to be defeated.

>> so as people pay tribute to the larger than life leader in south africa and all across the united states today, here at howard, they have come to this exhibit on campus set up a month ago to reflect.

>> reporter: what word do you associate with nelson mandela ?

>> courage.

>> visionary.

>> humanitarian.

>> she hopes to become a teacher and plans to one day pass along mandela's lessons to her students.

>> reporter: it gives them the tools to think critically about society and what would you like to see? what will you do to fix it?

>> for this south african , a recent graduate, the loss is more personal.

>> reporter: we have been expecting his death but still, when it actually happens, it does something to you. it is a sad moment. a time grieving.

>> but there is also celebration.

>> reporter: his name is up there with gandhi and martin luther king jr . and we sit and think, his messages, we should apply them to our life like other great peacemakers.

>> he is truth in service.

>> a man who united different races, a nation, and now generations. nbc news, washington.

>> reporter: