The newly installed Secretary of Education Betsy Devos released a statement addressing HBCUs (historically Black Colleges and Universities) after briefly meeting with administrators of them. Part of her statement reads, “Rather than focus solely on funding, we must be willing to make the tangible, structural reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
Her attempt to recognize the invaluable role HBCUs have played in the development of talent that has benefited the world many times over does not go without recognition. However, her interpretation of calling the formation of HBCUs a “school choice” is beyond abysmal. After taking a lawsuit while being forbidden from admission a man named Collis Temple, had his tuition to attend a different school paid by Louisiana State University because they once refused admittance to any and all Black African Americans. Also, since laws had been passed deeming it illegal for Blacks to read, many came to learn clandestinely and taught others in secret. HBCUs such as Bethune Cookman, and Howard University were founded solely because racist Whites either did not want Blacks to achieve an education and definitely did not want that education to be anywhere near those classified as White. They didn't have the luxury of choosing any school!
Betsy Devos would do well to research this and issue the necessary correction. Given this event, it underscores the importance of why African American Blacks must vigorously preserve the historical information and data that impacts our experience throughout the world. This must be the case no matter how small or large its recognition by others. If this history is not discussed, or taught in schools and other venues, it runs the risk of being misrepresented, or lost and forgotten whether intended or not.
It is for this reason why we offer seminars to not only empower and educate, but to ensure the transmission of information reflecting the experiences and the value that countless others received from such. Whenever our seminars are conducted, we are always enthused to meet individuals from different walks of life. They later come to realize some aspect of their life has been made easier from some of the information we present of which they were previously unaware.
Parents, guardians, and concerned individuals must take events such as this to teach those around them in effort to guard the correct understanding and appreciation of history. Betsy Devos’ ignorance of this matter provides that opportunity yet again. Take advantage!