As a 16-year-old country boy entering college, I quickly realized that Downtown Atlanta was a stark contrast from my hometown of Denmark, Carolina del Sud. But Morehouse offered a nurturing environment where faculty and staff looked like me and were inimitably invested in my development as a Black man.
While society might write me off for the color of my skin, my HBCU embraced me for who I was. When I doubted myself, they placed a crown above my head and challenged me to grow tall enough to wear it. My HBCU saw the best in me and others like me, producing generations of leaders who continue to see the best in others and our democracy.
Though HBCUs are under-resourced, 25% of the nation’s Black college graduates in the crucial STEM fields of science, tecnologia, engineering and mathematics have been educated in these institutions.
HBCUs also have made a profound impact on helping countless first-generation students avoid the peril of generational poverty. Statistically, 70% of HBCU students who are federal Pell Grant-eligible go on to surpass that $ 50,000 family income threshold just six years after graduation. This achievement is mostly possible because HBCUs believe that every student has potential and is worth fighting for.
It will take time for our nation to process the violent images of White supremacists storming the US Capitol and National Guard troops mount in congressional hallways in preparation for another racially fueled attack. Our nation stands at yet another crossroads, tuttavia, we stand at this pivotal juncture on the broad shoulders of HBCU graduates and civil rights leaders like Medgar Evers (Alcorn State), Rosa Parks (Alabama State), Stokely Carmichael (Howard), Dott. Martin Luther King Jr. (Morehouse), and countless others who helped write the story of America through their dedication to the civil rights movement.
Infatti, we must pick up where the brave men and women before us left off. And there is no better way to move forward than with HBCU grad Yogananda Pittman (Morgan State), recently named as the acting US Capitol police chief, and a host of HBCU alumni proudly serving in the Congressional Black Caucus.
Oggi, the American story continues to be composed by HBCU graduates and the values of service and community that are taught and exemplified in those schools. And after January 20, this transcription will take place in the White House and halls of Congress.
Every American citizen should be thankful.