HBCUs represent the historic United States institutionalization of African American higher education. They have played and continue to play a significant role in the training of African American professional sectors and in the economic viability of African American communities where they are situated.
COULD THEIR NUMBERS BE DECIMATED?
While during the Civil Rights period, the United States did remove de jure segregation and replace it with equality before the law, it nonetheless continued to recognize and fund HBCUs as an African American entitlement, in keeping with the desires of the African American people and their organizations. This is also in keeping with African Americans’ international minority right to institutions.
However, recent US government policies undertaken without consultation with African American / HBCU leadership have disproportionately impacted the survival of these institutions. Supreme Court decisions have also played a negative role.
This book represents IHRAAM efforts from 2014-2015 to contextualize the struggle to save HBCUs within the context of the international minority right to institutions, and to stimulate debate and discussion within the HBCU and African American community as well as within government and the international community as to the value and applicability of international norms when seeking to resolve the ongoing disproportionately negative standing of African Americans in social indicators measuring well being—despite their having achieved de jure civil rights for nearly half a century.
To that end, on July 14, 2014, IHRAAM sponsored (along with cosponsors 100 Black Men of Atlanta and Iota Phi Theta of Baltimore) a seminar on Empowering HBCUs and International Human Rights, again with a view to stimulating debate within the concerned communities.
On September 14, 2014, IHRAAM submitted an Alternative Report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, scheduled to conduct its regularly scheduled 2015 Universal Periodic Review of the United States as it relates to human rights on May 11, 2015.
On May 7, 2015, immediately preceding it, IHRAAM delegates presented a side-session at the UN Palais des Nations titled “Empowering Black Colleges: International Law, African American Development and Self-Determination.”
On July 20, 2015, IHRAAM representatives were invited to Washington by the U.S. State Department/Department of Education to participate in a Town Hall Session on the issues raised in the US UPR related to education. At that meeting, IHRAAM’s project for the establishment of a quasi-governmental body, the Office of HBCU Development and International Cooperation (OHBCUD) was presented.
This book includes the above-mentioned primary documents projected by IHRAAM, as well as capturing the thinking of persons outside of IHRAAM, all of whom seek to save and empower HBCUs, and represent their own positions.