Is There a Need for HBCU’s?

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  • It was Imar L. Hutchins, Esq., Morehouse College class of 1992, that started the ruckus with his letter to Robert C. Davidson, Jr., the chairman of the school’s board of trustees.
     
    Morehouse is a historically black college located in Atlanta. The school’s most famous alumnus is probably Martin Luther King, Jr., but that isn’t the only reason Morehouse should be cherished in the heart of every black American.
     
    As an HBCU that is dedicated to educating black men, the importance of Morehouse can’t be overlooked.
     
    That means we can’t overlook Hutchins’ letter to Davidson, either. Hutchins is concerned about Morehouse’s future, about its legacy and about its relevance to a new generation of African-American men.
     
    Hutchins put four specific questions to Davidson about Morehouse’s mission. One of them was, “Should homosexual Morehouse Men be embraced?”

    I can’t really believe this is an issue, but Hutchins says it is. (And a note to Hutchins: I believe the preferred term would be “gay men,” brother, not “homosexual men.”)
     
    Gay men clearly have no problem being accepted at Morehouse. In fact, if the things Hutchins says in other parts of his letter are true, then Morehouse can ill afford to turn away academically qualified black applicants that happen to be gay.
     
    So what Hutchins is saying is that gay men routinely get their humps busted at Morehouse. If that’s the case, then the only advice I can give them is what I would give gays – and non-gays – similarly situated.
     
    Bust humps back. End of discussion.
     
    “Is social justice still a part of the Morehouse tradition?” Hutchins asked Davidson. Isn’t it sad he even had to ask this question about King’s alma mater? But, according to Hutchins, who wrote his letter after talking to many alumni and current students at Morehouse, “many alumni fear they do not see enough of this (social justice) spirit in younger Morehouse Men of today.”
     
    Hutchins said that some Morehouse students he talked to not only had no interest in social justice, but also seemed downright callous. His conversations with them, Hutchins admitted, “left me scratching my head.”
     
    The brother should consider himself lucky. I’ve had conversations with young black folks that have left me feeling like I’ve rolled the dice with my sanity, or played Russian roulette with it. And the revolver had bullets in five of the six chambers instead of one.
     
    But I have a suggestion for Hutchins and Davidson about this “social justice” thing: require each Morehouse student, as a condition of graduation, to serve an internship at the Atlanta public defender’s office.
     
    Requiring similar internships might address Hutchins’ third question: “Is Morehouse primarily just a ‘business school’?” By having students serve what might be called “social justice” internships, it most certainly won’t be.
     
    The first question – and probably the most important one – on Hutchins’ list was this one:
     
    “Should black colleges even exist in the future, and if so, what should they look like?”
     
    I would hope that black colleges look like they look now: filled with a preponderance of black students. But they might sound quite different.
     
    It’s been my contention for a while that HBCU’s in America – and I don’t know if they exist in any other place – need to attract, educate and graduate blacks from across the African Diaspora.
     
    That means the student from the Republic of South Sudan who wants to major in engineering to help build his fledgling country’s infrastructure might find his way to the excellent engineering program at Morgan State University.
     
    HBCU administrators that find themselves with dwindling student populations – as more black American students head to white colleges and universities – might want to head down to Bahia province in Brazil, and take in a night school class of black Brazilians looking to get a college education.
     
    I saw such a class several years ago in Bahia province. All the students – about 50 cramped into a classroom built for no more than 35 – had graduated from what all admitted were pathetic public schools in Bahia.
     
    But all were committed to cramming into those remedial classes to learn the stuff they didn’t learn in school – for a chance at getting into one of Brazil’s colleges.
     
    HBCU’s should invite those students here to be educated. They have a drive, a desire and a focus many black American students seem to lack. What will Morehouse College and other HBCU’s look like in the future?
     
    I see them filled with people of African descent from around the globe.
     
     

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    7 thoughts on “Is There a Need for HBCU’s?

    1. I see a need for HBCUs in the present and in the future. My son will be attending a HBCU–Hampton University–and I feel he will learn things that he would not get at a traditionally white college. I know he must embrace diversity, but there are times he has to know about his blackness, and a HBCU can help him along that journey.

    2. Yes there still is a need for HBCUs but they must reorganized to meet the needs of the community. From my humble opinion they should charge no more than 15-20% above what most state universities & colleges charge. These presidents & chancellor must remember hanging with the Jones can lead to one own down fall.

      These HBCUs must also embrace or homosexual brothers & sisters. Who are we to judge others sexuality & belief? Romans 1:27-32 talks about the different sins yet the only 1 everyone latch on to sexual immorality. The last time I check we all die on our own & face judgment as an individual.

    3. I ,too, see the future HBCU’s of America being filled with people of African descent from around the globe. I am sure there will have to be some form of financial reconstruction to make it work for the students and the HBCU’s. The HBCU’s need to reach out to the people of African descent here in America as well as in the rest of the world.

    4. As I stated earlier, we still need HBCUs. I was fortunate enough to go to a mostly White college, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. However, I feel that those of us who are not as fortunate to attend a White school should attend a HBCU. I have many friends that went to HBCUs, and they are some of the most intelligent people I know. The one thing I notice about them, and sometimes I envy, is that there is a kindred spirit that is with them that cannot be matched with those of us who went to a White college. I hope my son gets that kindred spirit with those people who goes to school with him, and even those who went to other schools.

    5. HBCUs are still needed and must be supported financially if they are to survive. Racism in white colleges is taking its toll on black students in terms of ugly incidents such as assaults, insults, and failure on Comprehensive Exams when working on advanced degrees. I am happy to be an alumnus of two HBCUs.

    6. YES IT IS!! When you have racist Whites that complain about “Affirmative Action”, when Blacks such as MY President graduate from majority White colleges and universities, that makes a major mark in this nation, we HBCUs, so that the ‘haters’ looks stupid when an HBCU graduate steps up and creates a significate factor and the term “Affirmative Action” can’t be used.

    7. I don’t see a need for HBCUs if their standards of educating our young people especially young men don’t change. I have the hardest time telling the difference between a thug I saw on the news and the ones I see walking around HBCUs campuses. Now I haven’t been to ALL HBCUs but I have been to the majority in the SWAC.
      There was a time in our brief history when you could tell the difference from a blue collar worker, high graduate, college graduate and even Blacks who had Masters or PhDs. HBCUs leaders had a HIGH standard that were expected and accepted by Black society. They knew the young people they were educating had to be twice as good to be average in a White system. What happen to that HIGH standard? College than young Black men looking seriously at their future. And I’m sadden our leaders at our HBCUs don’t see it as well.
      Students who come from abroad to study at HBCUs don’t normally make it a priority to embrace a negative fashion that won’t get them closer to their goal of becoming a doctor, a lawyer, and engineer or business owner. They are well aware of their purpose for being in school.
      Instead of wasting time discussing a stupid moral issue of gay Black men, let’s get back to setting standards for educating ALL our Black men. I’m quite sure there were some gay Black men in the photo used in this story. WHO CARES!!!! I do care about how our Black men present themselves to society. Right now the image isn’t very positive. We seem to be embracing the stereotypes that have been levied upon us. Also understand, I do realize there are some fine young Black men graduating from our HBCUs but they are in the minority. A good male professor friend who teaches Science at an HBCU told me out of 64 students in his classes only four were male. Another friend who is the Commander for the Air Force ROTC at a HBCU told me just weeks ago….he hasn’t commissioned a Black male in two years. He has commissioned White males in that time period.
      If the leadership at our HBCUs can’t or won’t return to the HIGH standards that gave us GREAT leaders of our past, then what’s the need from them?

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