Death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been battling the court system
since his controversial conviction of the 1981 killing of police
officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia, received some welcome news
recently. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from prosecutors who
want to re-impose a death sentence on former Black Panther and
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are endangered.
Most are struggling financially and are having trouble luring potential
students. The financial difficulties affect the schools’ ability to
recruit and retain students--as well as stay competitive. And,
statistically, HBCUs are graduating students at lower four-year rates
than regular, public institutions.
Langston Hughes, the famed Harlem Renaissance poet, in what may be one
of his most oft-remembered poems, asked this question: What happens to a
dream deferred? That question, more than any other, may be more pertinent now than ever,
as Friday's August jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
revealed that African Americans, and young people in particular, are
fast falling behind the rest of the pack.
Have all the reports on the imminent demise of historically black
colleges and universities as we know them been greatly over-exaggerated?
They are if John Silvanus Wilson Jr., Ed.D, has anything to say about
it. Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, was appointed by
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration in 2009
to delve into the seemingly myriad list of sustainability challenges
facing HBCUs, from funding woes to graduation rates.
Harlem Children’s Zone is a haven in the middle of the city. Operating
since 1970, they have many new plans ahead. "We broke ground on a new
school/community center building to be opened in 2012 in the middle of
the St. Nicholas Houses (a public housing development)," says HCZ
spokesperson Marty Lipp.
Congressional backers of a pardon for Jack Johnson, the world's first
black heavyweight champion who was imprisoned nearly a century ago for
his romantic relationships with white women, say his prosecution was
racially motivated. Johnson made the same argument 90 years ago while in
prison, records at the National Archives show.