Durham church celebrates HBCU Sunday as Black History Month concludes

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The final weekend of Black History Month included special recognition for historically Black colleges and universities during a celebration at St. Joseph AME Church in Durham on Sunday.

The congregation heard from several educators, including North Carolina Central University's Chancellor Johnson Akinleye, after the university experienced some disturbing developments.

"This month began with Chancellor Akinleye and Provost Jackson here in refuge, as bomb threats were going off for HBCUs across the country," Pastor Jay Augustine said.

NC Central is one of several HBCUs where those threats disrupted lives. C-SPAN viewers watched the reaction of David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, after his school was threatened.

"This is not 1865. It is not 1922. It is not 1962," he said. "This is 2022, but the acts of domestic terror persist."

It happened as HBCUs also face financial challenges after years of underfunding.

"Here at the end of the month now, we're lifting up philanthropy, we're raising funds to support the NCCU Foundation and we're doing what a good neighbor should do in support of a wonderful institution," Augustine said.

He invited Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and president of Tennessee State University, to deliver the keynote address.

"I see first hand the needs of HBCUs. The funding needs, the critical need for advocacy and to address issues that concern HBCUs. To put to bed the questions about the value of HBCUs," she said.

Pastor Augustine hopes seeing proud AKA members at his church will inspire viewers to support HBCUs with donations.

"I am a very proud graduate of Howard University, our vice president of the United States is a graduate of Howard University. The story must be told, over and over, of how so many HBCUs have taken lemons and made lemonade and given opportunities to so, so many people. They are a vital part of our existence." he said.
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