Alcorn State University’s Office of Student Affairs hosted a discussion in the ballroom of the campus union on the topic of Social Justice and the Historically Black College and University’s (HBCU) role in defending it. Dr. Crystal deGregory, author and HBCU advocate, spoke with students about the history of anti blackness in the United States from early slavery to the Reformation Era. Students listened as deGregory discussed how the structure of racism is powerful and how many with high platforms dare not to speak on it.
“I want to have a conversation that’s not one sided. It’s important to realize the perilous times we live in and it’s a matter of who is courageous enough to speak out,” stated deGregory.
deGregory is a native of Freeport, Bahamas and obtained her undergraduate degree from Fisk University and both a Masters and Doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University. She is the founder and Executive Editor of HBCU Story Inc, an advocacy initiative that focuses on preserving, presenting and promoting the inspiring stories of Historically Black Colleges and University’s past and present, for their future.
deGregory stressed the importance of black lives and the relevancy of the hastag (#blacklivesmatter) that is attached to social media posts around the world. She spoke of the injustices people of color face due to institutionalized racism. She told the students with tragedies such as Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and the Charleston church shooting it does not diminish the importance of black lives. deGregory went on to say that students at HBCUs shape the foundation of black lives and are given the tools for a bright and powerful future.
“I want students to find courage in being themselves and have the courage to live life. Think of happiness as a space to be occupied and build your capacity to dream,” deGregory stated.