by Reid Chunn
Congress began taking active steps toward the growth institutions which served primarily those of African descent by passing the Morrill Act of 1862, this act appropriated land towards colleges; but more importantly, colleges which we now call HBCUs. While the first Morrill Act did not specify that land need-be allocated for black institutions, – many Southern States did not support the desegregation zeitgeist of the time and preferred that Blacks have their own schools – the second version clarified its meaning and insured equity among land delegation so that Blacks would have a better chance at achieving an education. Keep in mind that early colleges for Blacks, such as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, established in 1837 (started as African Institute, only weeks later(ICY), then to Institute for Colored Youth; , Cheyney Training School for Teachers, Cheyney Teacher’s College, and Cheyney State College), were primarily for elementary and secondary education since Blacks were only just starting to have the ability to openly learn and read in society.
We have an astonishing one hundred and seven institutions! to serve our brothers and sisters in this country, and you, reading this article are apart of this unique and completely necessary system. HBCUs are coming under fire and legacy’s morality being questioned. In a statement, after meeting with heads of HBCUs around the country, Department of Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, said that these universities and colleges are “living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.” Knowing a smidge of history regarding these types of schooling should muster enough confusion to ring the alarm that a bovine, somewhere, has released a hot pile of defecation on a truth. As we know, these were not merely “schools of choice,” they were, and still are, schools of necessity in times when African-Americans, in association with their: history, culture, and advancement, are being oppressed by the power that be, this was back in February of this year, fast forward to August and the Department of Justice is looking into suing HBCUs for discrimination against accepting white applicants. Putting the understanding of the purpose of these schools aside, we contrive that there is a deeper seeded purpose to contemplating such an action.
Even with the promise made by President Trump himself to further assist and fund HBCUs, they have yet to see these plans come into fruition. In fact, in Missouri, the governor has cut the budget to all schools, including the two HBCUs, Harris-Stowe State University and older brethren Lincoln University (to add insult to injury,
Harris-Stowe is already pleading a case that they are receiving a disproportionately low amount of funding from the government and are requesting an increase). Attorney general (the chief law enforcement officer of the nation), Jeffrey Sessions, has a questionable and jaw-dropping history regarding his relations with Blacks. According to a statement by the NAACP, he has “call[ed] the work of the NAACP and ACLU ‘un-American.’ He has also repeatedly spoken out against the federal Voting Rights Act.” Both of these organizations work on ensuring that civil liberties and rights are protected from government and civil infringement. Most recently, the ACLU (American Civil LIberties Union) took a case to the Supreme Court regarding Trump’s, “definitely not muslim,” immigration ban from select countries that were claimed to be terrorist hotspots and won. In the end Trump was forced to rescind his executive order and scribe it once more….but that too failed.