HBCU Leaders and Advocates Must Engage Democrats and Republicans

Johnny C. Taylor Jr.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. , Contributor,
Black Voice News

As the president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), I’m spending a good amount of time working to build strategic, government alliances that extend beyond our traditional Democratic support. If you’re wondering why, all you need to do is look at a map of where America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are located.

The fact of the matter is that a majority of TMCF’s 47 member-schools are clustered in southern and midwestern states completely controlled by Republicans. By that, I mean states where the governor, both U.S. senators, both chambers of the legislature and most of the U.S. House members are Republican.

The next largest group of our member-schools occupies states that are under at least a majority of GOP control. Only a small number of our member-schools—three to be exact—are in states and the District of Columbia that are completely controlled by Democrats.

If those statistics don’t jump out at you, maybe these facts will. Many of our institutions of higher learning are in desperate need of not just operating dollars, but serious capital infusions to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Earlier this year, for instance, Grambling State University President Rick Gallot announced that his school will need to abandon the campus library—an unprecedented decision for a university seeking to expand its national imprint in research and training for its students. Gallot’s announcement came almost exactly one year after Louisiana’s state auditor reported nearly $111 million in deferred maintenance at another Louisiana public HBCU campus, Southern University in Baton Rouge.


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