Address to Black HBCU Students (2023)

August 05, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I know, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are more inclusive than predominately White institutions (PWIs). However, this is an exclusive message specifically for native Black Americans, including those who identify as American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS), Foundational Black Americans (FBA), or United Sons and Daughters of Freedmen (USDOF).

Native Black American HBCU Students

The time is long overdue for us to overcome petty differences for true, sustained unity. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one day in January, same with Juneteenth in June. Kwanzaa is one week in December and based on African traditions. We have Black history month in February, and then African-American Music Appreciation Month and Caribbean-American Heritage Month in June. We should aim to understand and celebrate the core components of these events just as we deal with systemic anti-Black racism and the lingering effects of it - daily.

Keep in mind why MLK Jr. “had a dream” and why, less than a year before being assassinated, he said that his dream had “turned into a nightmare.” Understand the debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois, and how both are right today. Treat Kwanzaa as a reminder to map out your family tree back to US slavery in preparation for lineage-based reparations. Read Black history books by Blacks, preferably from Black-owned bookstores, who've shown to prioritize our community. Listen to hip-hop pioneers like KRS-One, Queen Latifah, Rakim. Do all of this daily.

Support Black-owned businesses every chance you get. Find a problem to solve and start your own business. Save and invest money into your community. Support your HBCU, even after you graduate, by providing mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. Learn how to defend yourself with and without weapons. Learn how to grow your own food and do first aid. Remember others who have lost their lives throughout the long road of Black empowerment including Malcolm X and victims from the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and Greenwood Black Wall Street massacre, a anti-Black pogrom.

Yes, it is a lot. But with focus and a goal-oriented community where accountability is fair and respected, it is easier and more fulfilling. Working toward all of this is also liberating as you're no longer suppressing your Black experience, your Blackness, to appease those invested in Black erasure or ignoring the ripple effect of American Slavery. Celebrate your blackness as you live, daily.

My recommended calls-to-action:

  1. Follow people on social media dedicated specifically to helping Black Americans.
  2. Work with family members to build a family tree with an offline genealogy application like Gramps (free).
  3. Read the PowerNomics series to learn deeper Black history and empowerment.
  4. Share info about the free training, mentorship, and other resources within the White House and IBM HBCU Cybersecurity Initiative.

Jacqueem Jt Spratley

Tags: black-community, college

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