March 17, 2022
Pressley: HBCU Bomb Threats are Latest Chapter of Anti-Black White Supremacist Violence in America
Transcript: Pressley: HBCU Bomb Threats are Latest Chapter of Anti-Black White Supremacist Violence in America
House Committee on Oversight and Reform
March 17, 2022 Thank you, Madam Chair and thank you to the panel of students who shared their stories and demonstrated so clearly the brilliance of our nation’s HBCUs. The bomb threats facing HBCUs really must be properly contextualized by America’s long history of anti-Blackness and white supremacist violence against our community. So I really appreciate the Chair for holding this space today. Even in the midst of this hearing, we see some who would seek to underestimate and to discredit the ferociousness of these threats. For generations, there have been many seeking to intimidate and terrorize Black folks, and they’ve intentionally targeted pillars in our communities across the country. From the reoccurring attacks on our Black churches, including the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four little Black girls in 1963 in Alabama, to the predominantly Black churches set ablaze by white men in my home state of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts mere hours after the election victory of President Barack Obama. Along with our churches, our HBCUs have been sources of community pride, the epicenters of Black brilliance, and yes, the constant targets of white supremacists. Dating as far back as 1865, when arsonists killed 46 Black people and LeMoyne-Owen College in Tennessee, to the 1960s when Fisk University North Carolina A&T received numerous bomb threats. The string of threats in 2022 are not an anomaly, but a chilling chapter in the long and troubling crisis of white supremacist violence. Dr. Cooper, I would like to discuss the implications of this long history of violence, intimidation on Black academia, specifically. During enslavement. Black folks were lynched for learning to read. During Jim Crow, we fought for equality in education still do today. Today, our HBCU students are being threatened with bombs. To a hate fueled few, there is nothing more dangerous than an educated Black person.