The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Targeted by Bomb Threats, Marking an Ominous Start to Black History Month


An increasing number of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have received bomb threats in the past few days, drawing the attention of the White House and federal law enforcement. At least 17 HBCUs temporarily canceled classes or issued lockdown orders in the wake of the threats. In January, several HBCUs also received a series of threats. The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, president and executive director with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

"The bomb threats targeted at HBCUs are a fresh reminder of the ongoing threats to Black life and opportunity, and the continued presence of racist hate. They are designed to undermine the mission of HBCUs and to strike at the heart of the sense of pride they instill in the Black community. These threats come at a time of unprecedented attacks on racial justice in the modern era--with efforts to hide our country's history of racism by banning truthful curriculum from classrooms, schemes to limit the right to vote, and efforts overthrow democracy through racialized violence as we witnessed during the Capitol insurrection in 2021. These threats also come at a time when some are seeking to close the doors of opportunity at other higher education institutions by attacking affirmative action. These forces are all connected to the purpose of racism and white supremacy--to degrade, humiliate, and intimidate Black people at every possible turn, to the point where no place and no institution is safe.

"This is why we must continue to fight racism and why we must win. To beat back these forces of hate, we must stand together and condemn these actions. The civil rights community will continue to stand in solidarity with HBCUs. We call on the federal government to fully investigate these threats and take action to hold the perpetrators and co-conspirators accountable."


Historically Black colleges and universities are a source of pride for the Black community. Their alumni are among the nation's leaders at the highest levels of government, business, and non-profit sector. These schools are remarkable for their resilience, fortitude, and dedication to community and serve a mission of inclusion and opportunity. Many HBCUs were established following the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, providing freed Black people and their descendants access to long-denied education, though the public institutions were typically segregated by law. These institutions proved to be essential in reshaping America for the better and have produced alumni who have served as important leaders in non-profit organizations, corporations, and government.

The Lawyers' Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.

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