HBCUs Are Our Past—And Our Future

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Originally Posted via ELLE

The route to work is always the same. Leave the highway and turn right on Sandra Bland Parkway. Follow it to its end, past the location where a state trooper stopped Bland’s car—the confrontation that would lead to her arrest and ultimately her death—and drive onto the campus of Texas’s Prairie View A&M University, one of 101 historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. Once there, I see what Bland must have seen on her first day of college, and what I saw on the first day of mine nearly 30 years ago: a beautiful campus with lush oaks and stately buildings that tell the story of a people whose freedom has been forged in the face of injustice and whose joy is political resistance.

Every time I make this drive, now as a professor, I am reminded that the first thing our ancestors did when they were emancipated was erect institutions of higher learning. These campuses house and nurture their most important legacy—the committed pursuit of knowledge and freedom, first imagined and then made real for our children. HBCUs remind us all that Black ingenuity is more resilient than white supremacy.

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