Henry B. Pickett Jr.: Strengthen HBCUs

April 9, 2013 

Strengthen HBCUs

Rick Martinez in a March 27 column (“Cut a campus, but give savings to HBCUs”) suggested targeting the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities for elimination or consolidation. He does not realize what type of fury the attempt to eliminate or consolidate any HBCU would bring about in North Carolina or the United States.

We have not forgotten our history. It has been said that race should not be considered when you discuss issues. Yet in Martinez’s column, race is the primary issue. He even pulls in UNC-Pembroke and stigmatizes it by saying Pembroke’s student body is predominantly African-American and Native American. Surely, he knows that HBCUs have non-African-American students enrolled on their campuses. At Elizabeth State University, my alma mater, at least 25 percent of the student body is non-African-American.

The old dirty trick of dividing and conquering is suggested in the column where HBCU chancellors and African-American community leaders are asked to propose a consolidation plan. I hope the Republican members of the General Assembly will do the honorable thing and strengthen the HBCUs and UNC-Pembroke. If not, we know that voting time will come again.

Henry B. Pickett Jr.

Raleigh

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