“Understanding history makes the present more explicable in terms of where we started from and how we got to this point”
The general population is so media-driven that they jump on the bandwagon without getting behind the facts. There’s growing debate about the “State of HBCUs”…and none of our highly respected media icons have made this a cause celebre.
Secondly, the alternative argument is that HBCU alumni do not support their schools as a whole and the schools ARE NOT USING SOCIAL MEDIA as a powerful tool to rally their constituents.
Also, it is unfathomable how in the bat of an eye, even our own ethnic group has found grounds to denigrate HBCUs and the contributions they have made and continue to make in the world of academics, sports, and just about every other aspect of society.
It is a fact that Black colleges offer an unique educational and cultural experience, and a large contingent of African Americans still attend these institutions and receive a quality education. After all, the bottom line is… “you only get out of it as much as you put in…no matter where you attend.”
In the matter of “TRADITION,” our forefathers were PROUD of being a part of one of the last existing Black entities that is now being castigated, ignored, or non-supported by those who don’t see their immeasurable contributions.
Isn’t it odd that regardless of their conditions, very few predominately white colleges or universities ever face such scrutiny?
“If the conversation is about “Black Lives Matter” – community development and current wars against poverty and racial inequality, historically Black colleges rank deserve the highest priority. In any historic or present context, HBCUs are among the institutions best equipped to take students from any economic, racial (diversity) or cultural circumstance and create within them industry-ready professionals driven to success.” (from the Huffington Post blog, “No Greater Waste of Money than an HBCU)
Who can argue the merits of a long line of achievers who have risen to world acclaim and are game changers? This includes a Who’s Who list: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Ret. Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James, US Army Ret., former NYC Mayor David Dinkins…and thousands more.
They are meshed between the mass of African American game changers who attended predominately white institutions (ie. Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, etc.)
I have had many heated arguments with ‘brothers’ who are victims of ‘mainstream fever’…you know…they matriculated from schools other than HBCUs whose rankings are celebrated (and some who aren’t), but they swear by them…donate to them and have no compunction about making demoralizing statements about HBCUs.
The present state of Black colleges did not start with their present conditions. It has been a potpourri of incidents- from racial isolation to insufficient resources to POOR management and VISION…too much exculpatory behavior and lack of skilled leadership…too much dependency on ‘Systems’ whether governmental and philanthropic.
While the furor is about the schools that have fallen through the net, not enough is being said about those that have utilized their available resources to breed success…i.e. going outside the boundaries to bolster their success rates.
Models of stability and progressive growth are schools like Hampton University, where Dr. William Harvey, who stepped onto campus amid a firestorm of insolvency debt and indecision, authored a vigorous campaign that has seen the Virginia campus transformed into a template of consistent growth: new buildings and programs, including one of the first proton cancer treatment centers on the East coast.
Michael Sorrell, a product of some of the elite PWIs, brought solvency to a small HBCU- Paul Quinn COllege- that had been on the brink of extinction. Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, one of the youngest serving presidents of a four-year institution in the nation has brought a fresh leadership that has reinvigorated the school.
There are numerous other schools that have ramped up the self-help addendum, like Claflin University, North Carolina A&T University and Prairie View A&M University, who are among those at the top of the list with their aggressive alumni support.
Still, there are so many sore points that need to be addressed…i.e. the drain of top students and declining academic and athletic enrollment. Undeniably, the barn door opened with the advent of integration that saw the more ‘profitable’ programs vacuum the top talent that most HBCUs use to take for granted. (Granted, everyone reserves the right to make their own choices and take advantage of the opportunities, wherever they are).
Even though this evolution has emerged, the alarm has not been heeded enough by some other black colleges who have taken a woeful blow to their rosters. Mysteriously, the only reply has been excuses and resignation.
It is a fact that Hall of Famers continue to emerge from these programs (HBCUs) as well as in other areas like education, medicine, space exploration, etc. They should be asking to make a difference, too.
I believe that everything happens for a reason….this is a wake -up call for America…Why would anyone want ANY educational institution fail? Why the sense of apathy?
So, ponder this… IF they are allowed to fail…we only have ourselves to blame.
Send us your opinions…
-Little known facts: From the onset, many of the pioneer educators (teachers, coaches, etc.) matriculated from a predominately white institution and opted to enter the Black college family to teach and nurture the underprivileged.
-Even if you did not attend a HBCU…you still are a part of their legacy. A good example, many major contributors were alumni from PWIs as well as philanthropists of every ethnic group.
-Other ethnic groups vigorously support and proclaim allegiance to their Alma maters and somewhere…a member of your family or a friend probably attended a Black college.