The State of South Carolina will designate a day to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Earlier this week, Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill that is aimed to honor HBCUs. The third Tuesday in February will be the selected day to recognize and appreciate the achievements and contributions that these schools have provided.
South Carolina is home to eight HBCUs: Benedict College, Claflin University, Voorhees College, Clinton College, Allen University, Morris College, Denmark Technical College, and South Carolina State University.
South Carolina State Representative Deon Tedder, who is also a South Carolina State grad, was the major catalyst for this bill.
“This is a momentous step forward. Long time coming, and long time we could be going,” said Governor McMaster according to reporting by Blavity. “This is a historic moment. The reason South Carolina is so strong, one of the reasons in their many, is because of the contributions of our HBCUs. And I think as we proceed in the history of this country, we will see more and more demonstration of how this aspect of our lives in South Carolina is something that’ll take us to the top.”
HBCUs are known for providing opportunities to underrepresented students. Often HBCUs are havens for talented Black students to thrive through Black innovation and Black collaboration.
“They produce our best and brightest in the state,” Tedder said according to Blavity. “In South Carolina today, we’re sending a message that HBCUs matter. “
HBCUs have been underfunded and unappreciated for decades which has led to issues in resources and public exposure. The State of South Carolina is trying to emphasize these institutions that could potentially help these schools prosper.
There is a lot more that needs to be done, especially when it comes to funding these historic institutions. State, local and federal governments as well as major companies need to be a part of the solution in assisting these universities in executing their collective mission.
In conjunction with giving HBCUs a day, South Carolina officials will be acquiring funding partners to support programs and initiatives for underrepresented students and students who attend HBCUs in South Carolina.
Alex Conyers, who is the interim president for South Carolina State University, also made comments regarding the state of HBCUs in the state.
“Over the years, HBCUs haven’t always been treated with equitable funding,” said Conyers. “We must be intentional in trying to level the playing field.”
“We need facilities that are livable,” said Tedder. “We need opportunities for students’ programs to expand so that they can compete with those coming from out of state.”
Hopefully, this step from the state of South Carolina will set a precedent for more states to acknowledge the importance of these historic universities.
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