The FADER spoke to three HBCU students and graduates about Trump’s executive order.

Da’Shaun Harrison, junior at Morehouse College

HARRISON: When I first heard that Trump was signing an executive order for HBCUs, I immediately asked the question “What good can Trump do for HBCUs?” We’ve seen this man heavily invest himself in spewing racist, anti-black rhetoric time and time again — from his comments on the Central Park Five to much of what he ran on and condoned during his campaign. I felt uneasy, but prepared. Our president Dr. Wilson did attend. There wasn’t a lot of pushback, but in a meeting with students he asked if he should go, was advised not to, and went anyway.

So many people see Trump separate from other presidents — even the ones that owned slaves and penned anti-black policies for mass incarceration because people don’t necessarily understand that he is part of a much larger system. On a large scale, we have not began to complicate our analysis of the presidency. We have yet to really assess the validity, or lack thereof of that office. So, with Trump it is easy to see him as different because his fascism is very loud, whereas other presidents quietly implemented fascist policies through capitalism and all of the many [Black and brown] people that affects. We continuously play ourselves by expecting bigots to ever do anything in favor of the marginalized. There is nothing Donald Trump can do that’ll benefit Black and brown folk because his ideologies don’t include us. Whether it be domestic or foreign affairs, that office does not exist to protect Black people. So it’s no surprise to me that they didn’t get what they expected. It also does not surprise me that so many of our presidents went to the meeting. What disappoints me is that so many of them went with real expectations of a fascist doing something good for Black folk.

We have to be very real with ourselves and realize that many HBCUs have already compromised our agendas. Howard’s president has actively met with Trump’s administration and they have openly anti-Black folks sitting on their board of trustees. On Morehouse’s Board of Trustees sits Dan Kathy, the C.E.O of Chick-fil-a and an openly racist, heterosexist, neo-colonizer and Trump supporter. Many HBCUs are funded and operated by rich cisgender heterosexual White men. So a meeting with Trump wasn’t the start of our compromising, and it won’t be the last. I think we need to divest from these folks who do not have our best interests at heart for starters.

Morehouse has been in the vanguard for social and political activism since its origin. But we see so much of Morehouse’s impact on the world through its development of young, Black male change agents like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Julian Bond, and through larger movements like the Atlanta Student Movement and modern-day movement, AUCShutItDown. Even as our administration opposes the work that we do — much like it did when students resisted in the 60’s and beyond — what Morehouse represents is a place that is able to radicalize bodies of people to push for equity and social change.



Interview with: Lakin Starling | For more of this interview with The Fader, click here.