HBCUs as Justice Incubators: Prairie View and the Fight for Voter Access
Wednesday, November 9 | 12:00 – 1:30pm PT
Hybrid: Latinx Research Center | 2547 Channing Way, Berkeley
& Zoom Webinar | Register here (free)
Endowed Professor of Political Science, Prairie View A&M University
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
Co-sponsored by: Institute of Governmental Studies, Department of African American Studies, Department of Political Science
Light refreshments served following the event
The passage of the 26th Amendment six years after the Voting Rights Act opened the door for students at HBCUs, particularly those in rural communities, to leverage their numbers into localized political power. Previously, black students were a boost to local economies but posed no real political threat because of voting prohibitions. Local governments reacted with voter suppression tactics and students who learned to organize and agitate during the civil rights era were now called into service to protect their voting access. Despite prevailing beliefs about youth apathy, students at HBCUs offer an alternative narrative that is not well documented. This project seeks to capture this history, especially while many of the most recent participants are still able to share their recollections.
The experiences of students at Prairie View A & M University (PVAMU) exemplify this fight waged by HBCU students against voter suppression. PVAMU students can constitute at least 40% of all registered voters in Waller County, Texas, which gives them the power to shape its leadership. PVAMU students have been involved in a five decade fight that has included failed indictments, civil rights litigation, and political protests. This lecture will be a discussion of this fight and what it means for the future of American democracy.