WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Lewis made the following statement celebrating National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week:
“Throughout our nation’s history, HBCUs played an integral role in shaping generations of leaders and visionaries when segregation and discrimination prevented African-Americans from earning college degrees.
“HBCUs have a strong standard of preparing students who are equipped for their futures and armed with a vast knowledge of the past. Today, we come together to pay tribute to generations of HBCU alumni/ae who are agents of change and impact communities across our country and in every corner of the globe. It is impossible to calculate their benefit to our society.
“In particular, I am proud that Georgia’s 5th Congressional District is home to some of our nation’s finest Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse School of Medicine, the Interdenominational Theological Center, and Morris Brown College are fixtures in our community. The people of these institutions not only contribute immensely to the vitality and spirit of Metro Atlanta, but also continue to impact communities wherever their paths might lead.
“This is an especially historic year for the Morehouse family, and I congratulate Morehouse College on the 150th Anniversary of its historic tradition in producing men who change the fabric of our nation and inspire movements around the world.
“I believe that we have a shared responsibility to support and preserve these institutions for the sake of all who rely upon the leaders, job creators, innovators, and educators produced by HBCUs. The Federal government must invest in research grants, capital financing, core programs, and historic preservation initiatives to ensure that HBCUs survive and thrive for future generations.
“Most importantly, the dream of higher education -- the key pathway out of poverty -- must remain within the reach of all who aspire. Congress must develop nonpartisan solutions that keep college accessible for students and their families. It is not enough to speak on the affordability of higher education; we must ensure that every student can realize the benefit of knowledge without the burden of a crushing debt as they embark to make their mark on the world.”