Several historically black university presidents have publicly denounced racist violence and rhetoric in downtown Charlottesville, VA. last week, calling for healing, responsibility, and awareness amid growing racial rifts throughout the country.
Dr. Harvey, who has served as president of Hampton for more than 35 years, called for sympathy from the university community and response.
“I encourage every member of the Hampton University Family to not allow the incidents which occurred over the weekend to go without notice or response. Recognize that even in today’s society, centuries after the Emancipation Proclamation, the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the concepts of racial inequality and racism are still being taught, promoted and advanced. As Hamptonians, we must take a peaceful stance against any and all incidents of racial injustice and racism, as well as do everything within our power to eradicate the hate upon which these concepts are founded.”
In an email to the campus community, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick specifically addressed preliminary remarks from U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he assigned blamed for the violence to ‘many sides’ of the incident.
“I unequivocally denounced the actions of these hate groups. Though their actions force some of our nation’s most longstanding human rights issues into the light, I remain inspired by the strength of those who refuse to tolerate such hatred. This university’s mission and principles do not allow us to share the sentiment that there was hatred, bigotry, and violence to be condemned on many sides – the hatred displayed today was one-sided.”
Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard denounced by name the hate groups involved in the clash which injured dozens of protesters, and claimed the lives of two police officers and a Charlottesville resident.
“As a community of servant learners, who have been on the receiving end of history’s wicked racism, intolerance and brutality, we stand with the millions of citizens who condemn racial supremacy, bigotry, Nazi hate groups and their racial prejudice.”
At Morgan State University, President David Wilson posted on Facebook plans for a ‘teach-in’ on race and racism to be held during the first week of classes.
“We must take this opportunity to fully address these issues and to engage our student body and entire university community in thoughtful conversations about the value of tolerance and the understanding of our differences,” he wrote. “It is my fervent hope that this tragedy that occurred in Virginia will further a national dialogue, which we will start her at Morgan, that would lead to lasting and positive change in our nation.”