Political wins showcase Black college excellence
Cyril Josh Barker | 1/14/2021, midnight
The wins of Howard University alum/Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Morehouse College alum U.S. Senator-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and help from political organizer and Spelman College graduate Stacy Abrams was summed up in a viral Jan. 5 tweet:
“If a Morehouse man becomes a U.S. senator, while a Howard alumna is the vice president, and both were aided by a Spelman woman, I NEVER NEVER NEVER want to hear any more talk about HBCU’s not preparing you for the ‘real world.’”
The tweet was posted by an account belonging to Morehouse alumnus Kevin Colclough, who goes by the name @KevCoke6 on Twitter and was shared over 15,000 times. Numerous people praised the tweet for showcasing Harris, Warnock and Abrams’ historical victories as products of HBCUs.
“When you’re at an HBCU, and especially one with the size and with the history of Howard University––and also in the context of also being in D.C., which was known forever as being ‘Chocolate City’––it just becomes about you understanding that there is a whole world of people who are like you. It’s not just about there are a few of us who may find each other,” Harris said in a published interview.
Throughout her childhood growing up in California, Harris went to mostly white schools and wanted to go to a Black college for her higher education. While at Howard, Harris ran for representative of the Liberal Arts Student Council as a freshman. She later joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which was founded at Howard in 1908. She earned a degree in political science and economics.
“Senator Kamala Harris has swung her Howard hammer and shattered the proverbial glass ceiling into pieces that will not be put back together,” said Howard President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “We are proud to call Howard University alumna Kamala Harris a monumental catalyst for collective joy and positive change.”
Wanting to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Warnock earned a psychology degree from all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta. Warnock followed King’s steps further by joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serving as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
“Dr. King’s spirit recruited me to Morehouse. I was born a year after his death, but I was inspired by him early on,” Warnock said in an interview with theGrio. “I wanted to be in this place that focused not only on information but inspiration; focused not only on training the head but tuning the heart toward the goal of making a difference in the world.”
Abrams earned a degree from the all-female Spelman College in interdisciplinary studies. During her freshman year she registered students to vote on campus.
“When I was 17, I set up my first voter registration table helping to sign up people to vote long before I was old enough to do so,” she said. “By December, I’d made it, and when I turned 18, I registered to vote. In 1992, I helped set the course of America––I was one small voice, but I was part of a mighty wave of young people from around the country who were tired of war, tired of poverty, tired of being left behind.”
With so many HBCU graduates outperforming in the 2020 election, it’s no surprise that President-elect Joe Biden promised in December to provide more funding for Black colleges. His incoming administration is pledging more than $70 billion in funding for HBCUs with $20 billion for facilities and labs and $10 billion for research incubators.