Kamala Harris latest example of the political strength of Wilberforce, Central State and other HBCUs
All HBCUs are leadership factories. Scroll through a list of prominent leaders in any state and it will be littered with HBCU alums.
Iconic, recently deceased Congressman John Lewis went to Fisk University. Activist and two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson is an alumnus of A&T University in North Carolina. And former congresswoman and first African American elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction Barbara Jordan attended Texas Southern University. The list goes on and on: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Baltimore states attorney Marilyn Mosby, intellectual WEB DuBois, and the first black American governor (Louisiana) PBS Pinchback.
HBCUs produced countless American firsts, including the first black mayors of Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Jacksonville, Fla., Kansas City, Knoxville, Tenn., New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Va., St. Paul, Minnesota, Trenton, NJ and Washington, D.C.
Paula Hicks-Hudson of Spelman College joined that list when she was elected mayor of Toledo in 2015.
Hicks-Hudson, now a State House representative, is not alone in Buckeye State. Ohio has two HBCUs – a rarity outside of the south and east coasts. Wilberforce University, the only private HBCU in Ohio, and Central State University, the only public HBCU in the Midwest, have produced distinguished leaders for Ohio and beyond.
Wilberforce gave Dayton its first black mayor, James H. McGee, former congressman Floyd H. Flake, and the first black woman to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives, Floy Clements.
After making history as one of the Little Rock Nine, Elizabeth Eckford came to Central State. CSU has also produced former Dayton mayor Clay Dixon, Xenia’s first black mayor James T. Henry, Sr., and four-term congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who has previously announced plans for a campaign event. local with the vice-presidential candidate.
A fierce HBCU alumnus, Beatty knows what most Americans haven’t yet recognized. Harris is no exception when it comes to HBCU graduates. She is the rule.
A graduate of Howard University, Robert J. Vickers is a former political columnist for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The (Harrisburg, PA) Patriot-News, and The Seattle Times. Until recently, he was director of public relations at Central State University.