Mayor Brandon Scott on Friday morning declared Sept. 23 as Historically Black Colleges and Universities Day in Baltimore.
Baltimore is home to two HBCU schools — Coppin State University in West Baltimore and Morgan State University in Northeast Baltimore. Representatives from both universities, including their mascots and a handful of students, gathered at City Hall for the ceremony.
“For generations, HBCUs have been the foundations on which what we know is Black excellence has been built,” Scott said. “I am so proud to proclaim this the first HBCU Day in Baltimore.”
The product of HBCU schools include groundbreaking figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris, film director Spike Lee and the once-a-Baltimorean Oprah Winfrey, he said.
The announcement comes amid this year’s National HBCU Week.
Kevin Banks, vice president for student affairs at Morgan State, and Pamela Richardson Wilks, provost at Coppin State, thanked the city for recognizing the historical significance that Black colleges and universities have on the global stage.
Morgan State University last month became the first four-year, historically Black university to join Amazon’s Career Choice program.
Under Armour earlier this year also partnered with Morgan to offer internships, scholarships and coaching for students in a new program targeting HBCUs.
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As an anchor institution in Baltimore, Banks said, the university is grateful for the partnerships to help transform lives and uplift the community.
The U.S. Department of Education this month awarded almost $25 million to schools nationwide in an effort to bolster a diverse educator workforce. Two Maryland universities, Coppin State and Frostburg State, were awarded a collective total of about $2 million.
“For 122 years we have provided and still continue to provide an accessible and affordable quality education for any and all students,” Wilks said.
HBCUs have not only provided education, but also employment to under represented and minority communities, and Coppin is no exception, she said.
Scott also announced his intentions to host Baltimore’s first Mayor’s Masked Ball fundraiser, a black-tie eventorganized by the United Negro College Fund in cities across the country including Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, according to a news release.
Fore more than 30 years, such events have helped raised money for scholarships to support Black students to go to college, Scott said. Baltimore will host its Mayor’s Masked Ball on May 6.
“This organization shares our goal of making sure that our young people can reach their highest dreams and the highest education that they can possibly obtain,” he said. “And will not be denied that simply because they come from a background where they might be financially challenged.”