Meredith Clark, an associate editor at the Tallahassee Democrat wrote this article a few days ago http://tallahassee.com/article/20081219/COLUMNIST21/812190315/-1/COLUMNISTS and I’d like to answer her questions and add a few comments. Whether you read the entire piece or not this is the crux of it:
“I’d like to renew the discussion with a look at the role of HBCUs in an Obama-era United States. It is not a question about their legitimacy or need; this is a question of how the role, function and even existence of HBCUs across the country will change as we continue to break down barriers.”
First of all, why must we refer to FAMU as a historically black college or university? It is simply another institution of higher learning. Is FSU or the University of Florida considered historically white universities? We need not get into the ugly history why FAMU was founded but focus on its mission. Since it opened in 1887 its mission was to provide the best possible education for those students who wished to attend. In 2008, nothing has changed. Its mission is still to provide the best possible education for its students.
It’s role is to also provide an alternative to those students who do not want to attend what you call a mainstream university although I fail to see how FAMU is not in the mainstream. Call it what it is. FAMU is a predominately black university with a diverse student body and faculty. There are some people, believe it or not who don’t want to go to a perdominatntly white university. I am one of them. Not because I harbor any hostility but because of the environment that lets me speak freely that is not hostile to what I have to say. And a lot of what I have to say would probably get me into some type of trouble at a FSU or the UF.
We may have elected the first black president of the United States of America but 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. Come back with your question after I see 2 black people leaving the First Baptist Church or a white person leaving Bethel AME Church.
There will always be a need for Florida A&M because the people of Florida recognize it’s importance to the community. Oh, in the future watch how you phrase your statements. You stated the there was no need to question the need or legitimatcy of FAMU then question the need for its existence as well as other black universities in the same paragraph. I think that you are smart enough to know the answer to your own question.