Greetings, Friends And Family:

This work, An HBCU Education: An African American History Month Message, is near and dear to me. I am a graduate of The Jackson State University (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 2006) and Tennessee State University (Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, 2008; Specialist in Education in Administration and Supervision, 2010; and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, 2018).

My four (4) years at The Jackson State University were the most formidable. I recall attending freshmen convocation prior to the first day of class. My president, Dr. Ronald Mason Jr., was the keynote speaker. His most emphatic words spoken in a pastor-like tone still resonate today were, “The most significant things in your life are God, second comes family, and then comes Jackson State.” The auditorium erupted in cheers and jubilation. We knew, I knew then I was involved in something what would change my life forever. I frequent Jackson, Mississippi, attend our football games every time I get an opportunity, and pay my alumni dues.

My years at Tennessee State University as a graduate student increased my opportunities. I was educated by professors who saw my talent and helped enhance it. The rigor was deeper than a textbook. I received lessons in life. Both universities, like all predominantly and historically black institutions, have played an increasingly active role in African American communities.

Many of our first contacts and experiences with black colleges is hearing the electricity of the band (The Sonic Boom of the South or The Aristocrat of Bands), seeing our educators who are members of the Divine Nine wearing their letters and colors, going to a step show or sporting event, or family members discussing their times on “the yard.” All I can say is “Homecoming is a reunion!”

All of these instances are a part of our lives for four (4) or more years. Our professors take on the role of parents. Alumni are our role models and goal models. Our presidents are “the president.” We eat well in “the caf” and freshmen fifteen (15) pounds are real. But, they are not the all. We are immersed in a culture to grow our virtues. We are immersed in a culture to seek and obtain answers to complex problems. We are immersed in a culture of truths, absolutes, acknowledgements, and inspiration.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) grew out of the black church. We grew out of necessity because predominantly white institutions (PWIs) legally, structurally, and took tacit actions to disallow African America entry. Our institutions grew out of our relationship with white clergy and sympathizers, and philanthropists’ investments. Our institutions grew out of a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in this nation. Our institutions grew out of African enslavement in this land. Our institutions grew out of a limited and at times absence of political and economic power. Our institutions grew out of racial tension.

Our institutions rise and compete because the work to educate and improve the conditions of African Americans is monumental. Our institutions rise and compete because individuals from every socioeconomic class within the black community are graduates of our colleges and universities. Our institutions rise and compete because careers in clergy, government service, agriculture, and business still need black faces in those workspaces to uplift all races. Our institutions rise and compete because there is a force at work on our campuses to narrow the income gap between middle-class blacks and whites. Our institutions rise and compete because we provide an opportunity to those from low performing high schools and poverty stricken neighborhoods.

Our institutions rise and compete because we foster cultural heritage and black excellence. Our institutions rise and compete because there is a mass movement to usher African Americans into a diverse world with the tools to challenge and transforms society. Our institutions rise and compete because they are the breeding ground for aspiring leaders. Our institutions rise and compete because an African American army of professionals is deployed to tackle social, medical, legal, and educational problems that have persisted for over four hundred (400) years. Our institutions rise and compete because our pedagogy gives voice and strategy on channels to exert leadership, and love and lift communities. Our institutions rise and compete because the movement, the revolution, is not over. Our institutions rise and compete because freedom has not been won.

Our institutions open doors for whites to receive minority scholarships and graduate degrees. Our institutions educate indigenous individuals, Hispanics, and Asians. Our institutions have red, yellow, white, and brown professors collaborating with black colleagues and stakeholders. Our institutions are thriving. Our institutions are expanding experiential learning opportunities and developing regional workforces.

Attacks On Our Institutions And Our Response
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and our students have been under attack since inception. Therefore, the recent bomb threats and acts of violence on our campuses is startling but not new. We are outraged that greater measures are not being taken to provide safety and security on our campuses. We are reminded that terroristic threating has a motive and it must be snuffed out.

Some want us to be deterred. Some want us to withdraw from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and attend more diverse and majority white institutions. Some want us to become less competitive. Some want us to be dependence and not independent. Some want us to lose ground and go back to the days of old. Some want us to not hold high offices and positions. Some want us to divest. Some want us to be stitched into a different social fabric. Some want us to remain underfunded.

Our response is crystal clear. It is to offer and have degree holders in African American and African Studies on all 107 campuses. Our response is to allocate increased federal and state dollars to HBCUs. Our response is to expand and establish medical and law schools, and graduate degree programs at all institutions that seek it. Our response is to have every college and university pair each student with a mentor and mentee. Our response is to increase PELL and SEOG funding. Our response is to reduce and stabilize student loan interest rates. Our response is to give HBCUs the resources to improve retention and raise graduation rates to historic levels.

These initiatives will occur due to our collective action. And, I am calling on all HBCU presidents and cabinet members to share this email with the student body and tell the student government association leaders to contact me directly at (615) 473-3213. We will send a shockwave through the body politic by: (a) registering all eligible students who live on campus to vote, (b) ensure every student has a way to get to the polls during early voting and on election day, and (c) increase recruit efforts.

Our educational foundation is crystal clear. We are taught at Historically Black Colleges and Universities about black people globally. We are taught that our story is one rooted in glory. We are taught more victories than violence against blacks. We are taught in such a way that instills pride without prejudice. We are taught ideologies that are equally liberal and conservative. We are taught culturally responsive education alongside critical race theory. We are taught to critique philosophies, postulates, and assumptions. We are taught to view multiple perspectives and arrive at our own conclusions.

To Students And Fellow Alumni
Wear your academic paraphernalia because students and alumni are the new Freedom Riders when we use a motor coach, intercity bus line, and fly. Wear your academic paraphernalia because the cavalry many not come to save us. Therefore, it is our shield. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are ambassadors for our institutions. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are recruiting every time we walk through a door. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are a reflection of history. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are suffragists, activists, scholars, journalists, attorneys, organizers, elected and appointed officials, and change agents. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are promoting a family, an experience, a unification, and the Diaspora. Wear your academic paraphernalia because we are educated and degreed.

The Academy
We inquire in the Black Academy:
The artist asks, “Are we being creative? Are we inspiring and producing masterpieces?”
The psychologist asks, “How is our work impacting the mind? How are we solving problems or expanding and improving our cognition?
The philosopher asks, “Are we being ethical and moral? Are we raising our awareness or causing dissidence?”
The revolutionary asks, “Are we using our power to make immediate and substantive change in our communities and the world? Are we ready to hold institutions accountable? Are we giving lip service and ear service to the idea of a revolution?
The historian asks, “What will be depicted about a people? What ought we investigate? Are we living in a cultural phenomenon? Are we improving humanity?

We read in the Black Academy. We read the works on and about Dr. Cornel West, Professor Nikki Giovanni, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Dr. Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X, Franz Fanon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, James Baldwin, Joann Robinson, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Dr. Amos Wilson, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Rev. James Lawson, Jr., Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Chinua Achebe, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan, Septima P. Clark, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Bell Hooks, Lerone Bennett Jr., Dr. Chancellor Williams, Prince Hall, Dr. Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Claud Anderson, Ella Baker, Dr. Charles Mills, Frederick Douglass, Congressman John Lewis, Ralph D. Abernathy, Dick Gregory, Randall Kennedy, the black press, and many others.

I list these pioneers and visionaries because America must get uncomfortable. Stop the book banning! Stop attacking every institution (i.e., education, press, family, religion, faith, and the lack of; the environment, and healthcare)! Stop closing off one’s mind and disqualifying bodies of work which are not Eurocentric!

People of color were in this country long before groups of European ancestry touched these shores. America must tell everyone’s narrative on their rise to prominence and power. Every ethnicity has contributed something great to this experiment with democracy. Every ethnicity has a spark of genius. Every ethnicity has important contributions. Every ethnicity has a history that deserves equal honor, respect, and attention to academic discourse.

It is time to have a mass resurgence to attend HBCUs. Go back home! It is time to fully fund the machine what is producing black professionals. Go back to support our home! It is time to pay our alumni dues and create scholarships and fellowships. Give to our college home! It is time to flex our power as a political bloc. Go back home to get someone registered to vote!

Jackson State University And Tennessee State University
I would like to thank The Jackson State University for your continuous support! Thee I Love. Additionally, I would like to thank the renowned Tennessee State University and the work of Madam President Dr. Glenda Glover for enriching lives through the power of higher education. Because of you, I “think, work, and serve.”

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a national and global treasure. They are fixed into our conscience and offer a higher form of human expression, a world class education. Send your child to a black college. It is one of the best decisions she or he will ever make!

This piece is dedicated to my beloved mother who was a custodian. She cleaned houses and offices building, and labored in mental health facilities to put me through college. Furthermore, this work is dedicated to my genius father who set the expectation for me as a child to be a doctor. Lastly, this piece is dedicated to my maternal grandfather who promoted education although he had only a sixth grade education; yet rose to become one of the best cooks in State of Tennessee government.

If elected, Dr. Quintessa Hathaway will make history as the first person of color and African American woman to ever win a federally elected seat in the state of Arkansas.

Important Dates
Primary Election Voter Registration Deadline: Monday, April 25, 2022
Early Voting: May 9-23, 2022 (Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM And Saturday 10AM-4PM)
Primary Election Day: Tuesday, May 24, 2022

General Election Voter Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Early Voting: October 24-November 7, 2022
General Election Day: Tuesday, November 8, 2022