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Bomb threats target 20 HBCUs during Black History Month

Bomb threats target 20 HBCUs during Black History Month

When people think of Black History Month, they think about those who have paved the way for African Americans to gain freedom. Currently, those freedoms are being tested as historically black colleges and universites across the United States have been targeted by bomb threats. 

Nearly 20 historically black colleges and universities [HBCUs] in five states and the District of Columbia have received bomb threats since Feb. 1. Many believe that this is a racially motivated tactic to invoke fear into those who should be celebrating their accomplishments.

“The timing of these threats to coincide with Black History Month was a likely attempt to exploit tensions among some factions of our society,” Michelle Cooper of the U.S. Department of Education said.

Jackson State University was among the many colleges to receive such a threat. JSU is one of the 5 HBCUs in Mississippi and historically has been known for its use of technology and research to aid students in becoming stronger in their school journeys.

Jonathan Richardson, a junior journalism major at Jackson State University, said that getting the bomb threat alert was frightening.

“Wow, it could have been some real damage done if there had been a true bomb threat, because a lot of people on campus were asleep,” Richardson said.

HBCUs have provided education to some of the most influential Black leaders in America–from the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Kamala Harris. King, a graduate of Morehouse College, was the face of the Civil Rights Movement.

 From leading non-violent protests to his famous, “I Have A Dream Speech”, King set the standard of the movement. Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to serve as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Harris made history last year as the first African-American woman elected as vice-president of the United States.

Richardson explains that his appreciation for his HBCU is beyond measure.

“Most of all, I get to see the other side of black people that the media doesn’t show on a daily basis,” Richardson said. “I get to see black excellence and black love for one another.”

Still, the recent threats indicate that HBCU students are facing similar battles that these prominent Black leaders had fought for their entire lives.

The president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi Felecia Nave’s first priority was her students’ well being. 

“I’m extremely saddened for our students who continue to be traumatized, in what is truly unprecedented times,” Nave said via Colorado Newsline. “They’re resilient, and they are resolved to continue to move forward and to make it known that we won’t be threatened.”

HBCU students are those who were most affected by these hate crimes against the universities. It has gotten to the point where some students question if history is repeating itself. 

“I was caught off-guard because we’re in 2022 and still facing the same problems as our grandparents and their grandparents,” international studies major at Spelman College in Atlanta Marian Turner said. 

Decades removed from the Civil Rights movement, these crimes indicate that people still reject the idea of Black self-improvement. 

Still, acts of violence like the recent events are what motivate students like Xavier junior public health and international affairs major Nina Giddens to continue to pursue her goals.

 “The fact that they are so threatened motivates me to keep going. I’ve encouraged my friends to not be afraid,” Giddens said.

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Bomb threats target 20 HBCUs during Black History Month