The End May Hopefully Be In Sight

The long, inexorable march for Morris Brown College to extinction seems all but over now.

Via The AJC:

For more than a decade, Morris Brown College has clung to life as it struggled academically and financially in the face of growing debt and dwindling support.

Now, one of the country’s oldest black colleges, which at times boasted an enrollment of more than 3,000 student, is now down to about 50, and all but dead.

Morris Brown is facing foreclosure next month, after investors called $13 million worth of bonds tied to the college. An auction of assets, including the administration building, is scheduled for Sept. 4.

“This is heartbreaking and not only a sad day in the life of Morris Brown, but in black academia,” said former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, a 1990 graduate of Morris Brown. “The school is needed now more than ever.”

Its questionable the school is needed “now more than ever”. What is clearly true is that MBC was never going to recover from the 2002 scandal and continuing to give it lifelines over the last 10 years prolonged an embarrassment that should have ended years ago.

28 comments

  1. jiminga says:

    Why do we have black colleges at all? Nothing could be more racist. People died trying to integrate schools and colleges in the past but reverse racism still exists in these schools. If black students want a “black experience” they should join a club or a black fraternity. Otherwise, they should cherish the American experience of a color blind school.

    • Trey A. says:

      No one should have to explain this to you… But, since you raised the point, try to follow this little hypothetical. Let’s say UGA was founded by oppressed white folks who were not allowed to attend government colleges because of hatred and race supremacy. UGA never discriminated against folks from other races attending or teaching on its campus–it would not sink to the level of the state schools–but it remained “historically white” because no one else wanted to go to college with the “dirty” whites. When the state schools finally opened up and started accepting some of the very best and most well-behaved (i.e. least white) white kids in the 1960s and 1970s, UGA had already developed a proud academic and collegiate tradition. So why should it just close its doors now that its traditional student base has more options now, 40 years later? Should it just acquiesce to the opinions of the majority and wash away all that history of the institution’s heroism in the face of shame and disgrace?

      Also, you should probably watch this. I imagine that I don’t ultimately agree with this guy’s politics, but I agree with just about everything he says in this particular video:

      • SallyForth says:

        “Should it just acquiesce to the opinions of the majority and wash away all that history of the institution’s heroism in the face of shame and disgrace?” Such acquiescence was demanded of Caucasians who had established universities, wasn’t it?

        As USA1 points out, why are academic institutions permitted to identify as “black”, “jewish,” and “christian” but not “white” or “caucasian”? Another point I sometimes ponder: recent census reports indicate that in about 10-15 years, whites will become a minority in America — will they be given the same benefits, set-asides, and affirmative action preferences as other minority groups? And after everybody becomes part of some minority group, who can we blame as a majority?

        No matter what confusion or mixed messages we all have to live with, I do feel really sad that Morris Brown is going under – it is an Atlanta institution.

        Now, back to pondering our belly buttons.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “As USA1 points out, why are academic institutions permitted to identify as “black”, “jewish,” and “christian” but not “white” or “caucasian”?”

          Black and Jewish institutions self-identify as such because there was a time not really all that long ago in the scheme of things (inside of 50 years ago throughout most of the South) when Blacks and even Jews to a certain extent in some places were by law not allowed to attend or even think of attending mainstream institutions and state universities like the University of Georgia (UGA didn’t allow black students to apply, enroll and attend until 1961 as most “mainstream” schools at one point did self-identify as “White” in the sense that Blacks were by law not allowed to attend or even apply).

          The only colleges and universities that Blacks were allowed to attend were the “Black schools” (Morehouse, Spelman, Clark, Atlanta, Morris Brown, Fort Valley State, Albany State, etc) which along with almost every other facet of society (public schools, churches, shops, businesses, water fountains, barber shops, neighborhoods, parks, hotels, etc) were labeled as such by a highly-segregated society dominated by whites because those schools and nearly every other place in society were the only places where blacks were allowed to go by law.

          As society has desegregated and integrated more and more over the last 50 years and barriers have continued to come down and Black people have been permitted and even encouraged to go “mainstream” schools, Black schools have become less of a necessity and more of a niche like an engineering school (Georgia Tech), a Christian school (Liberty University), a party school (virtually every SEC school except for Vandy), an Ivy League school, etc.

          Except, instead of specializing in engineering or agriculture or religious studies, Black schools and HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) have evolved from being the only universities that blacks were allowed to attend to being niche schools that specialize in black culture and tradition that are the very strong vestiges of a virtulent system of segregation in which blacks risked life and limb if they dared venture any place that did not have the label “Black” in front of it at the wrong time, a virtulent system of segregation that is vividly remembered by many people that are alive and well today.

          “Another point I sometimes ponder: recent census reports indicate that in about 10-15 years, whites will become a minority in America — will they be given the same benefits, set-asides, and affirmative action preferences as other minority groups?”

          In some cases, maybe, but in most cases, probably not. In somewhat of a bit of irony, some Southeastern states give court-ordered full-ride scholarships to white students to encourage “reverse desegregation” of state-supported HBCUs (the courts have ordered some states with relatively large publicly-funded HBCUs to encourage whites to attend them because the courts found state-supported HBCUs to be a form of segregation that was being supported and encouraged by state governments with taxpayer money…quite a few white students have taken advantage of the full-ride scholarships to state-supported historically Black universities for obvious financial reasons).

          “And after everybody becomes part of some minority group, who can we blame as a majority?”

          Who else?…Rich people. “Rich” people may not be a majority in number, but the people with the most money and power will never be the favorites of those who stuggle financially.

          • USA1 says:

            Wrong!

            Jews have always preferred having separate schools for themselves. They might use the claim of discrimination as an excuse but that’s not the real reason the have had and will always have their own schools. Obviously you don’t know the history of Yeshiva University.

            I’m all for blacks having their own schools. Chrissies too. But let’s have white ones as well.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              Man, where have you been?

              Only relatively VERY FEW Jewish people prefer having separate schools for themselves, the absolute vast majority of Jews are not only very much integrated into American society, but also in many ways, especially in terms of entertainment, finance and law, are one of the anchors of mainstream American society just like black people are one of the anchors of mainstream American society, especially when it comes to athletics, entertainment and, increasingly, politics.

              We already had “white” schools up until the Civil Rights Era, now those “white” schools are increasingly diverse mainstream schools.

              Sorry, but if you want schools that label themselves “white”, you’ll have to get in a time machine and travel back to the 1950’s, otherwise you are totally and completely out of luck on having “white” schools…Sorry.

              • USA1 says:

                You say integrated, I say weaseled. You say anchors, I say albatrosses.

                But you’ll get no argument from me about jews dominating media, entertainment, politics, academics, banking and finance.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              And one more thing…

              “Black” schools are not actually “black” schools as you refer to them, “black” schools are actually called HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) meaning that they were “black” schools in the past when they were the only schools that black students were allowed to attend before desegregation and integration of society.

              People just call them black schools as a bit of shorthand because the student populations of the schools are predominantly black because more blacks than any other racial and/or ethnic group choose to attend those schools at this point.

              • USA1 says:

                Mmmmm…..thanks for splaining things.

                Did you cut and paste that or is that you showing off how well you’ve been trained in semitical correctness?

    • Lea Thrace says:

      If you are not part of a minority class, you can NEVER understand the experiences of that minority. You can try but you will not come close. This is true for race, gender, sexuality, etc.

      Going to a predominantly white school as a black person was a very very different experience than that of my bf who went to an HBCU. Being surrounded by those that understand your walk in life makes learning different and growing up different. And trust me, non-HBCUs are NOT color blind. If you are in a minority anywhere, you stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes its a very very bad thing. I am a black female who went to GT. Trust me. I know.

      Your statement is like saying why do we have Christian schools or all female schools. Different schools offer different experiences.

      Just my 2cents.

      • USA1 says:

        If you are not part of a minority class, you can NEVER understand the experiences of that minority. You can try but you will not come close. This is true for race, gender, sexuality, etc.

        Reminds me of those shirts in the 1990s: “It’s a black thing – you wouldn’t understand”.

        Yup, ol whitey won’t ever understand us but that won’t stop us from making countless documentaries, demanding racial quotas, marching, yelling, sitting-in, forcing minority set-aside contracts, abolshing free association, and countless other guilt trip du jours.

        Blacks can scream their victimhood from the tallest mountain, meek whitey can bow down before him and repent for all the sins he never committed, but the fact remains that it doesn’t matter because YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND. Got that whitey? NEVER!

          • USA1 says:

            Who are you kidding? You don’t want a discourse period.

            When blacks want to talk about racial issues they want it to be a one-way street: they do the talking while whitey sits and listens and nods his head approvingly.

            When confronted with their own collective actions, black people get angry, label their adversary as a crazy rayciss and either threaten violence or stomp off never to be heard from again.

            Let’s see what you choose to Lea.

    • wicker says:

      Do you say the same regarding Yeshiva University, a Jewish college? And if you can find evidence of reverse racism existing at black colleges – or at Yeshiva University – go ahead and cite it. (Quite the contrary, Morehouse had a white valedictorian a few years back.) Also, black colleges only exist not because black people choose to go there, but white people choose not to. It is the free market. You either support choices in a free market or you don’t. Any white person who wants to enroll in an HBCU is free to. You should take advantage of that opportunity yourself. Fort Valley State has a good master of science in biotechnology program.

      • USA1 says:

        Unlike UGA and other state universities that are forced to go out and recruit minorities, Yeshiva — like most Jewish institutions — is insular and does not actively recruit blacks and arabs. That’s fine with me. If the undergraduate school is 100% Jewish, so be it. But don’t act like Jews play by the same rules as those they force on non-Jewish Americans.

        And there is no true free market for schooling. Not when academic institutions are permitted to identify as “black,” “jewish,” and “christian” but not “white.” The truth is you — and many, many others — do not support an actual free market for schooling.

  2. wicker says:

    So, the 5 AU center schools – Atlanta University, MBC, Clark College, Morehouse and Spelman – will soon be down to 3. Atlanta University and Clark merged for survival purposes, and MBC is now all but officially gone. (If you want to be technical, it is 4, as Morehouse School of Medicine is independent of Morehouse.) Morehouse and Spelman are fine. CAU (the combined Clark College and Atlanta University) was troubled for awhile, but is now stable thanks to cutting some (very good) programs.

    Morris Brown was a good, solid school that had some good programs, including some that no other AU center school offered. The problem is that they chose not to adapt to the new higher education landscape where integration and Pell Grants made going to state schools a cheaper, better option for many students. They were hostile to the idea that their mission should change because times had changed. And yes, their refusal to admit that times had change was because of ideological reasons that ultimately had nothing to do with Morris Brown, but were part of a larger – and yet totally unrelated – fight. So, what was once a good school and institution had to be sacrificed because the school and the opportunity and tradition that it represented was less important than not having to concede “times have changed and we need to move forward.” Because admitting that for Morris Brown would have meant making the same admission writ large, and the folks who ran Morris Brown were willing to let that school close rather than do that.

  3. Self_Made says:

    If you believe in the evolution of societies and institutions, this is not a sad event at all. Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, and Spelman are in no way diminished by the demise of Morris Brown College. To the contrary, they are enhanced by it. While sharing so many identical variables with MBC, they survive, or even thrive, in the face of competing with cheaper state-run schools or better funded private schools for accomplished students from wealthier families. Morris Brown’s imminent demise is proof that even in the narrow market of HBCUs, the laws of supply and demand work.

    • Trey A. says:

      It certainly does not make any of the surviving institutions more attractive to potential students to have boarded up and abandoned academic buildings and athletic facilities across the street. When’s the last time you took a stroll down Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard? The road is along one of my morning run routes. The collapse of MBC is everywhere and not in a good way.

  4. Self_Made says:

    There’s no reason that should be a permanent situation. Once the school’s assets are sold, I’m sure those properties will be redeveloped.

    • Trey A. says:

      I hope so… Though the same could be said for the neighborhoods immediately north of MBC, and their blight has been pretty close to permanent over the past few decades.

  5. seenbetrdayz says:

    I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘racism’ as a mentality, more like tradition. To say it’s ‘racist’ would imply some level of hatred or sense of superiority.

    I graduated high school in 2005, long after segregation ended, but during lunch 95% of the white kids sat at tables with white kids and 95% of the black kids sat with black kids. We didn’t all hate each other. No one told us where to sit. There were no crosses burned on the school lawn or insults hurled for the 35 minutes we sat down to eat.

    People just sat with their friends that they had known throughout their previous school years. It was nothing more than that.

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