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President Trump Addresses Historically Black Colleges Conference

Sept. 10, 2019 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump proclaimed Sept. 8-14, 2019 as “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week,” on Sept. 6, on the eve of the 2019 conference of the White House Initiative for National HBCUs being held in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 9-11. Today he addressed the conference.

“For more than 180 years, HBCUs have strengthened our country and called America to greatness. Your institutions have been pillars of excellence in higher education and the engines of advancement for African American citizens.... You have shaped American leaders, trained American legends, pioneered American innovations, empowered American workers, built American communities, and you’ve made all of America very proud of you and the job you’ve done,”

Trump told the conference. “This nation owes a profound and enduring debt of gratitude to its HBCUs.”

There are more than 100 HBCUs across the United States, known as such because they were established after the Civil War when no black-skinned person was allowed entrance in “white” universities.

“In the face of immense hardship and painful injustice, your schools rose to the very pinnacle of academia, becoming many of America’s finest and most acclaimed institutions of higher learning,” President Trump recalled. He named some of the graduates of these schools who became historic leaders, among them Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Rev. Martin Luther King, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, as well as “the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.” Far from the least, though not mentioned, were Tuskegee’s S.W. Boynton and Amelia Boynton Robinson.

Trump reported that under his administration, federal funding for HBCUs has been increased by 13%. Particularly interesting is the targetting of federal funds for science, technology, engineering and math. Trump said that NASA is expanding outreach to HBCU students—including those who want to become astronauts. The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy included #HBCUWeek in its tweets today about its upcoming “Millennial Nuclear Caucus” and facts about its $44 million in scholarships to 72 schools in 31 states over the last 10 years.

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