HBCUs were started because there wasn’t anywhere else for Black students to enroll due to segregation and racism. This is a commonly known fact among the general public. Unfortunately, the new Secretary of Education, who’s often criticized for being unqualified, wasn’t aware of this.

The Trump administration is currently working to make it appear as if they have the best interest of HBCUs in mind, which is something President Obama was often called out for. Part of sending this message was having dozens of HBCU leaders meet with President Trump for a controversial photo op and reported discussion on how to help their institutions in the future.

After the meeting, Betsy DeVos looked to capitalize on the moment and released a statement celebrating HBCUs for being “living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and great quality.” This was meant to support her belief that offering vouchers for private schools and defunding public schools.

Hundreds of people called DeVos out for ignoring the very important fact that HBCUs were a necessity, forcing her to release a second statement to clarify her remarks through a series of tweets.

#HBCUs are such an important piece of the fabric of American history—one that encompasses some of our nation’s greatest citizens,” she wrote. “Providing an alternative option to students denied the right to attend a quality school is the legacy of #HBCUs. But your history was born not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism, and in the aftermath of the Civil War. #HBCUs remain at the forefront of opening doors that had previously been closed to so many. We need more good schools. We need more good teachers. And no child should be denied the opportunity to enter a great school. Not one.”

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