Above Photo: Getty Images.
The idea of reparations for Black people as restitution for the slavery of our ancestors is a conversation we’ve been collectively having for decades now — many different points have been made as to when and how money is actually distributed.
With Adam Harris’ new book, “The State Must Provide,” that conversation is brought up once again, this time directing those funds towards the education system at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The author, an HBCU man himself from Alabama A&M University, was inspired to make the argument after he saw the stark differences between his own predominately Black campus and the University of Alabama in Huntsville — a PWI university with a small fraction of Black students in attendance.
“They had new and newly renovated buildings,” Harris said, according to NBC BLK, further adding: “The library had longer operating hours and a more extensive collection. Potholes had been filled — if they’d ever been there. And very few of the students I saw that day were Black, which was interesting for a regional school because Huntsville is roughly 30 percent Black. But just 10 percent of UAH’s campus was Black.”
Here’s more background on how the book further makes his point seem quite valid, as reported in the original profile on NBC BLK:
“Why were the facilities superior at the predominately white school founded in 1950 than the historically Black university founded 75 years earlier, in 1875?
That fundamental question Harris pondered for a decade became the impetus for his newly released book, ‘The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal—and How to Set Them Right.’ A reporter for The Atlantic, Harris crafted a comprehensive work that examines the vast history of how racial discrimination against historically Black colleges and universities manifested itself in governmental underfunding and undermining that augmented many of the schools’ lifelong struggles. The years of federal neglect led Harris to conclude that HBCUs are owed reparations from the overall bias they have suffered.”
Being that every university is clearly in a different state of need and funding, thoughts then lead into who gets how much, where is the money being allocated, who approves spending and a long list of other important checkpoints that would need to be figured out first.
We’ve heard Harris’ side of things, and many of you have already seen Dave Chappelle’s hilarious take on the subject, but now we want to hear from you: Should HBCUs get reparations? If so, how?