Celebrating Historically Black Colleges and Universities
When it was announced that California Senator Kamala Harris would be Joe Biden's running mate in the upcoming election, media was quick to point that the Biden-Harris ticket is the first of a major political party since 1984 to not have an Ivy League graduate. This doesn't discredit their ticket. In fact, it brought to light that Harris graduated from Howard University
, a historical black university. Here's why her education is significant.
While running to become the democratic nominee for president, Harris made it a point to mention that when she was a little girl, she was a part of the second class in her area to integrate her school. Think about that. Public integration in the U.S. was not met with open arms. In fact, it took many years after Brown v. Board (1954) for schools to integrate. In 1957, The Little Rock Nine were escorted by more than 1,000 paratroopers to integrate schools. In 1960, Ruby Bridges courageously walked into school with angry crowds protesting integration along the way. In the 1960s federal courts held many trials to admit African American students to public universities. HBCUs were founded because African Americans deserved an adequate education that the government was not providing or enforcing. They were founded by efforts from Black churches with the support of the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen's Bureau. Between 1861 and 1900 more than 90 institutions of higher learning were established with Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina being the first.
HBCUs are in no way inferior to any other colleges or universities in the U.S. Therefore undermining the education of a trailblazing politician is not only unnecessary, it's insulting. Notable alumni of HBCUs that you'd recognize in modern history include Noble Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, mechanical engineer and inventor of the Super Soaker, Lonnie Johnson, entertainment mogul, Sean Combs, Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson and Academy Award winners Taraji P. Henson and Spike Lee.
Attending an HBCU, or any college or university for that matter, should be met with respect and with pride. Individuals are working to better their lives through expanding their education. Let's applaud them.