Celebrating Historically Black Colleges and Universities

September 13, 2019
Weekly Columns

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played a critical role in our country for decades. These higher education institutions have long been dedicated to serving the African-American community, even before President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Fourth District is proud to be the home of the largest and oldest HBCU in the state, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Over the years, we’ve seen many of these colleges and universities grow into internationally-acclaimed schools, training hundreds of thousands of students for successful careers.

Just a few days ago, the White House Initiative on HBCUs hosted its annual conference. As part of this conference, the Congressional HBCU Caucus convened the third annual Braintrust, titled, “The Power and Potential of Black Innovation.” I’m honored to be part of this caucus and celebrate the key role HBCUs play in educating the next generation of patent holders and entrepreneurs.

Having worked as an engineer prior to serving in Congress, I’ve seen how important innovation and technological development is to businesses and industries. This year’s Braintrust theme highlighted the need to use every tool at our disposal to increase young people’s access to the networks necessary for career success. All Americans should have equal access to these resources, and HBCUs play a huge role in this process.

I’m excited to see the innovative ideas and products students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and other HBCUs across the country create in the coming months and years.