Preparing HBCU Students for Reality
by William Jackson
Part of a continuing series…………..
This blog was written with much reflection and research of the past.
In order for change Blacks need political, economic and educational
voices and power. Protesting, chanting and marching won’t do it
alone. HBCU students must be active and engaged, using the tools
and platforms of Social Media to share truth, accuracy, intelligence,
You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do
is to be an intelligent human being.” Malcolm X
The events from Ferguson to New York have shown there are violent
lines of conduct against those of color. There seems no change in
emotional volatility and the potential for psychological enslavement
because of violence against Blacks and even Black on Black crime.
Blacks have seen a growth in violence against them; age, gender and
economic status is not a protection against the growing number of
graves being dug and Black boys and girls tossed into the oblivion of
death by police brutality and the effects of Black on Black crime.
“I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images.”
There are increasing references to the civil rights movements of the
60’s, 70’s and 80’s, how there were grassroots efforts of protest
demanding similar changes. The unification of communities against social
injustices and economic, educational, and political imbalances that
are still present even in the 21st century worked to a point, they were
nonviolent, but the violence of today only helps to destroy Black
communities that are already struggling with the lack of economic
investments and social caring.
“Any unarmed people are slaves, or are subject to slavery at any
given moment.” Huey Newton
Police brutality, declining political power and influence, economic
impotence and educational struggles are the same issues that have
extended from the past. Events of the past should have taught Blacks
a lesson in historical importance. The lessons that should have been
learned as a culture, if that culture does not have economic or
political influences they will be treated as second if not third class
citizens. If a culture even in the minority or seen as a minority
does not have the intellectual members of their community voicing
concern and demanding change then they will be ignored and if
a culture does not have the educational clout to not just demand
educational change, but institute change on their own they will
be ignored and those that make a noise will be threatened with
exclusion or expulsion. Education is vital for Blacks to be relevant
in America and the world.
Blacks have lost and continue to lose power and influence, not
just from outside influences, but because of the lack of self-investment.
Power respects power, what power does the African American
community poses even in its HBCU institutions that in too many
cases themselves are struggling. PWI’s can say they are supported
monetarily, politically and generationally; HBCU’s often struggle
with validity, relevance and influence even by Blacks themselves.
This mindset must change because HBCU’s are still and will remain
important. Rarely do PWI’s receive scrutiny from within, the
psychological way of thinking must change for HBCU’s, HBCU’s are
important and vital to the growth of America.
Change is not coming if our intellectual scholars do not think it is
important for them to be involved, change will be fleeting if our
youth do not think it worth as African Americans of the past see
that not only is education empowering, but using that education
not to just make money, but to empower and speak for their
“people.” Where are the young leaders, the future Barack Obama’s,
Jesse Jackson’s, Barbara Jordan’s, Eric Holders, Kwesi Mfume, and
“After 1865 there was extensive mobilization within the Black
community, meetings, parades and petitions calling for legal and
political rights, including the all-important right to vote.”
Black activism grew as a political force; leaders were either selected
or trained. In this decade where are our present and future leaders
being groomed to handle the current racial issues? HBCU’s have a
historical responsibility to do this and students have a moral, ethical
and cultural responsibility not to be selfish in their actions. There are
groups across the country, students from colleges and universities
that are keeping with the traditions of peaceful protest. They need
support and importantly their stories/struggles told. Our struggles and
stories cannot be left with traditional media, African American
bloggers/content creators/ media creators are in desperate need to
share important issues and information.
Organizations like the NAACP, Black Caucuses and others are shadows
of themselves, lacking political power and supported by too many of
those that want to see themselves in headlines, on television and being
heard in sound bytes that have no value. There are those warriors still
working hard, but they need support. There has been the Urban League,
SCLU and even the Union League in 1867, which encouraged the political
activism of African Americans throughout the South. That created political
change; Blacks today cannot even get out and vote to keep Democrats in
the House of Representatives and the Senate where the real laws and
political influence are. You get what you vote (or do not vote) for.
The deaths of youth, teens and young men will go on and their deaths will
accomplish nothing, they will be forgotten and become faded images on t-shirts,
old news programs, faces on discarded newspapers or forgotten blogs unless
students get active and engaged. HBCU’s are allowing others to write their
stories that will project in the future. In 15 years and beyond when the history
books ask, where were the HBCU’s and what was their involvement and influence
during the times of deaths of African American youth and teens, it is hoped that
the message will be that HBCU’s were in the forefront using their resources of
intellectualism and organized protests that influence politics, economics,
education and social change. As an HBCU graduate from South Carolina State
University I hope history does not state that HBCU’s were impotent and quiet,
hiding on the sidelines with no power.
My tool is my voice in writing, my goal is not to demean, degrade nor disgrace,
but sometimes harsh words need to be used to engage those that sit by and
do nothing. The deaths of too many young men and women need action now,
Bloggers, Vbloggers, Podcasters, Microbloggers, and Social Media activists
need to shout their voices and the voice of protesters.
“Your goal in life can’t just be to do well for yourself. I love Howard’s motto,
“Truth and Service.” Not “Truth or Service.” Truth and Service. As Dr. King
said, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” U.S. Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan, Howard University
How can we teach our HBCU students to be active and engaged if instructors,
educators, adjuncts, administrators, presidents and others on HBCU campuses
sit by quietly, hiding and hoping no one asks them what their opinion is.
What is the use of gaining knowledge in political science, criminal justice,
economics if you do not use that knowledge to help your own people in times
of turmoil and death.
Have African Americans been so absorbed by the colonization of their minds
and enslavement of their thinking thru history that they have lost their sense
of worth and value for their color and culture?
“Swear your oath not with your hand over your heart,
but your hand outstretched to give, to serve, to do. “
Mayor Cory Booker, Hampton University