Emotions flow at vigil for two fallen FAMU students

Friends and classmates of Motlow and Brown consoled each other at Thursday’s vigil. Photo by Ki-Jana King


By Ki-Jana King
Outlook writer

Not a soul in the crowd could hold back their emotions. Some sobbed. Others wept uncontrollably at a recent vigil to remember the lives of two FAMU students who died in an auto accident.
An estimated 150 people gathered near FAMU’s Eternal Flame in front of Lee Hall to celebrate the lives of the students who were killed on Jan. 5 in a fatal automobile crash in Shelby County, Tenn. Alfred Tre Motlow III, 19, and his girlfriend Aniya Brown, 20, died a day before they were expected to return to resume classes for their sophomore year at FAMU.
Speakers at the event shared fond, funny memories of their peers.
Brown’s cousin touched the crowd while recalling some of the high points of her life. As she spoke, some in the crowd concurred verbally or by nodding their heads.
“Yeah that’s true,” one voice in the crowd bellowed. Another said, “I remember that.”
Both were engineering students at the FAMU-FSU Engineering School and students in FAMU’s LLC Engineering program.
The fatal accident involved two other cars and claimed the life of one other person, according to a statement from the Shelby County police. Four other people were injured.
FAMU president Larry Robinson said he consoled the families in telephone conversations.
“In each case, they talked about how wonderful FAMU was to them while they were alive and the things that [FAMU] has done since they have passed,” Robinson said. “We are a family at Florida A&M University and these two students were fully cooperated into the Rattler family.”
The Vigil drew a cross-section of people, including the victims’ classmates, friends, family and people from the community at-large.
“As a dean you feel sometimes like you are a father for many adult children … but I can’t imagine what it’s like for the parents of these two wonderful young people,” said J. Murray Gibson, Dean of the FAMU/FSU School of Engineering.
The victims left an obvious indelible impression across FAMU’s campus. In particular, Motlow, who was buried this past Saturday in Memphis.
“I will always keep his spirit alive every day by doing everything I do with everything I have,” said student Jaylen Walker. “I truly appreciate the opportunity God gave me of having a person like Tre touch my life.”