Since 2009, the Obama White House has created a masterful surface impression of support for black colleges. First Lady Michelle Obama keynoted several HBCU commencements. Black colleges were the site of multiple community dialogues and forums engaging black communities about policy concerns. And HBCUs were critical battleground state rallying stops and fundraising sites in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
But when the glow of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration dims, the lobbying will begin for the president’s attention to control guns and climate control, and to reform immigration and our economic rules of engagement. Education, in spots and flashes, will appear on the nation’s radar for discussion whenever the next startling report on secondary achievement, degree completion or affordability is published.
And because higher education occupies little space within the nation’s domestic agenda, there’s little room for optimism about increased federal support to or discussion on black college sustainability and growth over the next four years.
It seems like public HBCUs in the south can’t earn their political stripes until they square up with a conservative, undermining governor with unreasonable authority over their existence. FAMU has Rick Scott, and the Southern System has Bobby Jindal. While Alabama Governor Robert Bentley doesn’t rise to the ‘eminent’ level on the HBCU threat alert system, his outspokenness on ASU’s current controversy isn’t helpful to the Board and the university community moving towards a better and more stable place of leadership.
Iconic civil rights figure and Alcorn State University Scholar-in-Residence Myrlie Evers Williams will deliver the invocation at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21 in Washington D.C. Evers will be the first lay person to deliver an inaugural invocation. From the release:
President M. Christopher Brown II highlighted the tremendous opportunity Alcorn’s students and faculty have to interact with Evers and participate with her in once-in-a-lifetime lectures and archival research projects. “Words are inadequate to express our excitement about Evers participation in our President’s inauguration,” says President Brown.
Williams is the widow of fellow Alcorn alum and historic civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Here is a 2012 interview with Evers Williams about her role as an activist and her memories of her husband.
Alcorn State University student Booker Reid had an extra-special feeling on election night. As thousands of HBCU students nationwide cheered on the reelection of the presidential incumbent, the Las Vegas native had a family victory to celebrate. His brother, Steven Horsford, became the first African-American elected to the US Congress from Nevada.
Check back regularly throughout the night as the Digest will be updating the 2012 Presidential Election from the HBCU perspective. Check out Tweets, comments and links from HBCU students and alums throughout the evening, chiming in on the race for the presidency.