Black Colleges Get No Vaseline!
Not even a week has passed since the Trump administration met with the leaders of the HBCU community to discuss how the administration will do “...more [for HBCUs] than any other president has done before.” Yet, one such HBCU head is already claiming that he and his colleagues were, indeed, bamboozled into simply being a pawn in a social media effort for President Orange and his band of merry grapes to “look” like they’re making a difference.
In all honesty, most of us knew that this was nothing more than a premeditated photo-op for President Fruit’s administration when we saw the infamous photo on our timeline feeds - a photo, incidentally, that made Kellyanne Conway look like she was about to take a whole gallon of Vitamin D per a Debbie Does DC porn promo!
Nonetheless, Morehouse president, John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., wrote a letter to the Morehouse college community on March 1, discussing his reflection on the two days he spent with Trumps Administration. He addressed how high his hopes were that Trump was really willing to assist HBCUs in ways that they have yet to be supported. Especially after Trump claimed to do more than any other president has done, given that President Obama had, “…invested $3 billion more [in HBCUs] in his first six years than President Bush invested in his final six years,” according to Wilson’s letter.
Here’s the shocker - to Wilson anyway. The only thing that President Orange has done is transfer the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House - basically it went from DeVos’ desk to Trump’s desk and will probably gather 4 years of dust there!
The reality is, no one else around the country is surprised at the dupery. So, why is Wilson so shocked? Singer/Actor Frenchie Davis - an HBCU Alum (H-TOWN!) - posted on her face book that if this is what these leaders are falling for, maybe it’s time to pass the baton.
In reading Wilson’s letter in full - Click Here To Read Full Letter - I am even more bothered by his resolve on a very particular moment during his time on Capital Hill. Apparently, DeVos was quoted as saying the following about how HBCUs came to be,
“They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
Ma’am!!! Where, on this polluted earth, did you receive this buffoon’s version of information? HBCUs were created, NOT out of choices the black community didn't like, but out of the very reality that the black community had NO choice in education. We were not allowed to attend schools of the time. As Wilson does, in his letter, address the true history of HBCU birth, here’s where I gave Morehouse President Wilson epic side-eye! According to his letter, this is what he had to say in response,
“Slavery has a long shadow and the school choice debate was not at all alive under the menacing loom of that shadow at emancipation! So, Secretary DeVos misstated that, but that does not mean she should be diminished or dismissed. From listening to her carefully for the last two days, I get the strong sense that she wants to get this job right. She should still have that chance.”
Should she?! Should someone who has no experience, apparently no knowledge, and no real compass as to how to help HBCUs or ANY educational system for that matter, be allowed the chance to “get the job right?” How many mistakes, on a governmental level, can we afford when someone like DeVos is in charge of such a prominent department? How many things can be "missed" that are tied to the very lifeline of educational systems, specifically Historically Black Colleges and Universities?
In reading this letter in full, I can’t help but feel as though Wilson - along with many of his colleagues - are simply past their prime in fighting a fight for true change and demanding more representation for HBCUs and education at large. I too think (along with Frenchie Davis) that it may be time for these particular leaders to collect their 40 acres and that damned mule. To pass the baton to someone who is a little less naive, a little more tuned in to today’s struggle and fight, and who isn’t too tired or even eroded by time to be suckered into a meeting just so that President Orange and his merry band of grapes can say, “Look ma…Look at all the black people we have!”
Feature Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Tyler Conklin's Flickr Page- Creative Common License
Feature Photo Altered by OTJS and is in no way endorsed by licensor