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Working Capitol Hill: presidents of historically Black institutions spend week in Washington, where HUD grants $6.5 million to seventeen HBCUs – historically Black colleges and universities; Dept of Housing and Urban Development


The observance of National Historically Black Col leges
and Universities Week drew more than sixty presidents from institutions
dedicated to the higher education pursuits of African Americans to the
nation’s capital in late September for meetings with federal officials.
The week culminated with the announcement of a multi-million dollar
grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) to several historically Black colleges and universities.

HUD awarded $6.5 million in grants to seventeen historically Black
colleges and universities (HBCUs) to help the schools revitalize
distressed neighborhoods surrounding their campuses. Each institution
will receive grants of up to $400,000 to fund activities that include
housing rehabilitation, community center development, small business
development, and job creation and training.

“We are proud to work in partnership with historically Black
colleges and universities to help them improve not only the lives of
their students, but the lives of their communities,” said Andrew Cuomo,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary.

“These schools can serve as powerful engines to revitalize
surrounding neighborhoods with job creation and training, new business
development, and expanded home ownership,” Cuomo added.

Since 1992, the department has awarded more than $43 million to
HBCUs to stimulate economic and community development, according to HUD
officials. Some of the grants will allow those institutions to continue
initiatives that were launched with earlier funding.

“HUD’s continued support for…our nation’s historically Black
colleges and universities allows us to more effectively expand our own
redevelopment initiatives, [and] support the private and public
resources for use in the revitalization of our neighborhood[s],” said
Dr. H. Patrick Swygert, president of Howard University.

In addition to meeting with HUD, the HBCU presidents met with
officials from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Agency for
International Development, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection
Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Information
Agency, the National Cancer Institute, and the Corporation for National

Department of Labor Secretary Alexis Herman convened a meeting with
the college presidents to discuss strategies on how the labor
department and Black institutions can “work together to help reverse
high unemployment among Black youth and to ease the transition of
people from welfare to work.”

During the meeting, Herman directed her staff to confer with college
presidents on developing the department’s welfare-to-work initiative.
She also announced the formation of an HBCU working group “that would
inventory existing programs : on campuses that address Black youth
unemployment, welfare-to-work, and job training.”

“Together, we must actively pursue solutions to the problems that
have devastated the lives of too many young African Americans,” said

In 1994, the Department of Labor (DOL) signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with HBCUs to develop initiatives to increase their
participation in DOL-sponsored research, technical assistance
contracts, and grant programs. The department has awarded $12 million
to HBCUs since the memorandum was issued.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton designated National Historically
Black Colleges and Universities Week and signed an Executive Order to
expand the role of HBCUs in national affairs.

HBCU Recipients of HUD Grants

Oakwood College, Huntsville, Ala. $380,000
Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Ala. $400,000
Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Ark. $400,000
Howard University, Washington, D.C. $370,000
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Fla. $350,000
Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Ga. $400,000
Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky. $400,000
Southern University, Baton Rouge, La. $330,000
Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss. $400,000
Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Miss., $400,000
Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh, N.C. $400,000
Bennett College, Greensboro, N.C. $300,000
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, N.C. $393,000
Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville. N.C. $400,000
Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, N.C. $377,000
Voorhees College, Denmark, S.C. $400,000
Wiley College, Marshall Texas $400,000

Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1997

COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates

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