At the inaugural Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit in Birmingham, students and leaders from these schools gathered and discussed ways to meet the demands of Alabama’s changing workforce, Alabama Newscenter Reports. NFL’s John Stallworth, a graduate of Alabama A&M, said in his keynote speech that going to an HBCU was a “life-changing event.”
The event was organized by Sen. Doug Jones-Democrat, who also moderated a panel on how HBCUs can partner with other schools and businesses across Alabama to ensure that their students are ready for tomorrow’s jobs. “We’ve got some of the leading businesses in the state of Alabama that came to Birmingham today because they recognize the quality of education these students are getting at these HBCUs,” Jones said, according to the outlet. “I want people to see that. Alabama has more HBCUs than any other state in the country. They provide well over $1 billion in economic engine for the state. One of the purposes of the event today was (to) highlight the phenomenal job that these colleges and universities do for these graduates. They’re forward thinking.”
U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn– Democrat, reintroduced legislation just days ago that would reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation Program, which would support the preservation of historic sites at these schools. In 1998, the Government Accountability Office found that 712 structures on 103 HBCU campuses were in need of historic preservation, according to The T&D, and the estimated cost of that preservation was $755 million. To date, more than 60 of those buildings in 20 states have been renovated through Clyburn’s program, which is managed by the National Parks Service.
Clyburn is seeking $10 million per year for the next seven years. “We have made significant progress towards the restoration and preservation of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of HBCUs, but there is still much more that needs to be done,” he said. “I am proud of the continued bi-partisan support of this effort. Senators Kamala Harris and Lindsey Graham reintroduced their companion bill today in the Senate, and I will continue to work with them to restore and preserve these critical pieces of American history.” This is not the first bipartisan effort in support of HBCUs.
Clyburn continued. “These federal investments have transformational impacts on the communities that surround our HBCU campuses, and bring new life to historic buildings, many of which were built more than a century ago by student labor and designed by unsung Black architects. By continuing these efforts, we are extending a tremendous legacy.”
That legacy is one that Stallworth was proud to have been a part of. “I’ve had a blessed life and, yes, I would not change a thing,” he concluded his speech. “I am John Stallworth, a proud graduate of an HBCU.”
This article published with permission including content from Alabama Newcenter