The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Maryland has a long way to go on HBCU equity

Morgan State University, a public, historically black university in Baltimore. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The March 25 Metro article “Hogan signs off on funding for HBCUs” evoked deja vu. Though the infusion of financial resources is necessary, as U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake noted, Maryland’s public institutions of higher education have “a shameful history of de jure segregation” and “practices of unnecessary program duplication that continue to have segregative effects.”  

The settlement  Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced makes no mention of program duplication. More than a half century has elapsed since what was then the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the U.S. Education Department) called on Maryland and other states that maintained racially segregated institutions of higher education to take meaningful steps to provide historically Black colleges and universities the resources and programs to desegregate and prosper. Sadly, in Baltimore and other places throughout the South, HBCUs have been thwarted as nearby White public institutions have expanded exponentially.

I suspect that this omission may be what attorney Michael D. Jones was referring to when he stated that “there is still a bit of work left to do” to finalize the deal. Undoubtedly, former Morgan State University president Earl S. Richardson knows whereof he speaks when he referred to his unsuccessful efforts of “cajoling, compromising [and] lobbying.”

Despite a substantial infusion of financial resources, Maryland still has a long way to go to achieve an equitable system of public higher education.

Burton M. Taylor, Rockville

The writer was director of postsecondary education for the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health,

Education and Welfare.

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