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.