Outraged that six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) received bomb threats on February 1, the first day of Black History Month, Dr. Julianne Malveaux late Monday called on the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation and called the acts of domestic terrorism reminiscent of the KKK and its incendiary acts of violence.
The bomb threats caused class cancellation at Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Albany State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Howard University, and Southern University and A&M College.
The nationally renowned economist, scholar, columnist and president of PUSH Excel, who is also the Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State LA, called for all schools to include a course on “authentic” history in their curricula. Given the rise in hate crimes in the U.S., Malveaux said told the Chicago Crusader that racists fear a multi-cultural society and this course is needed.
“Learning about people of color, learning about marginalized people, learning the whole of American history is as important as learning quantum physics or English literature,” said Malveaux who is also president emerita of Bennett College in North Carolina.
Malveaux voiced her opinion of the bomb threats, saying, “They are the racists that remind me of the post Reconstruction period of the KKK, and the fact that no bombs or incendiary devices were found (at the six HBCUs) is immaterial.” She said the bomb threats are “disruptive for students, faculty and staff.”
“The federal government needs to investigate where these threats are coming from, and provide the appropriate consequences for these threats,” Malveaux told the Chicago Crusader.
“When a college gets a bomb threat, they have to take it seriously. So, whether people are in class or in offices, you got to clear the place out. That is disruptive and that is the intention, to be disruptive and to attack Black students at Black institutions,” Malveaux said.
“I am not surprised at all,” that in 2022 HBCUs are still getting bomb threats, Malveaux said.
“If you look at what is happening in this country especially since the election of President Barack Obama, that allowed all of the racists to come outside, encouraged all the racists to come outside, and incoming outside they have done all kinds of things,” she remarked.
Referring to the racists targeting Obama Malveaux explained, “They have attacked individually, but they’ve also attacked him racially.” And now she said the racists are denying the failed election of Trump, whom she would only refer to as “the 45th president.”
“We live in a country that is anti-Black,” Malveaux said. “We see it every day with the number of people who are killed by police officers for nothing. We can start with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. We can call names every day of people who are killed.
“What we know is that racism is alive and well. Racism is part of the cake that America baked when it was founded,” Malveaux stated. Racism, she said, “is foundational in this country.”
The economist addressed a Florida bill, S.B. 148, introduced to ban history lessons that made white students feel “discomfort” in talking about slavery. Malveaux said, “Most black folks have been uncomfortable their entire lives in this country. No one is asking these young people to feel guilty. If you don’t know what happened, you will repeat those actions.
“When you talk about lynching, everybody should feel uncomfortable,” she said. “When you talk about the burning of the Black Wall Street in Tulsa, we should all feel uncomfortable. When we talk about the killing of Medgar Evers, we all should feel uncomfortable. Who said that life is supposed to be some comfortable space where all you learned about was lollipops and candy?”
In response to the question of why Black lawmakers have not introduced a bill calling for the truth to be told, Malveaux said some of them have paid less attention to this matter and others are working hard on equally important issues.
She called for hearings about the curricula in the nation’s schools, commenting, “Our job as a college is to bust those myths, to break them wide open. We are doing things with K-12 teachers to help them teach authentic history.”
Calling it “authentic history,” Malveaux said African American history should be mandated nationally. She said further, in California, there are laws that mandate taking some ethnic study class before students can graduate from community colleges or universities. She attributed that breakthrough to former Cal State San Diego Professor Dr. Shirley Weber who is now the California Secretary of State.
The problem of racism can be fixed Malveaux noted, saying, “Actions should have consequences. We can track down the people who gave the bomb threats. They need to be punished appropriately.
“We have to engage in an aggressive anti-racist work (campaign) and that is really what Reverend Jackson has spent much of his life doing with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. We got to be fully engaged in that, in doing anti-racist work and getting folks to understand essentially that this is unacceptable,” she said.
Malveaux said Black people may have accepted this anti-blackness in the 1950s or 1960s; however, she added, “This generation of young people are not having it. They are prepared to challenge it. We, as oldies, have to also be prepared to challenge it and to support them.” Malveaux said no student should have to experience bomb threats while trying to get his or her education.
Both the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the Howard University police issued an “all-clear” notice for the campus around 6:22 a.m., according to a university spokesperson.
Other universities like Bethune- Cookman, and Southern University and A&M College went into a lockdown mode, all later issuing an “all-clear” statement.
The Albany State University had closed its campus, postponed classes and operations until further notice. Bowie State University closed its campus; however, students would attend classes online while employees would work virtually.
The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshall released a statement, saying: “OSFM bomb technicians and explosive detection K9s are assisting Bowie State police with a telephonic bomb threat. K9s will conduct sweeps of buildings and if discovered, mitigate any devices. This is reported bomb threat ONLY at this time.” Bowie lifted its “shelter-in-place” order by early afternoon.
By press time on Wednesday, February 2, additional schools in the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Mississippi, had also received bomb threats.