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Black Colleges Must Continue to Exist

By Professor W. B. Mitchell


Editor’s note: The following article was published in 1976 and re-published in The Mid-South Tribune in September, 2000 in a special edition.

            It is generally concluded now, as some of us have known all the time, that Black students are not now, never have been and never will be accorded fair, impartial just and equal treatment in the so-called predominantly white institutions of higher learning or lower learning! In these institutions Black students have encountered and have been exposed to all kinds of deceptive, deceitful practices, hypocrisy, lack of interest or dedication to wholesome Black intellectual growth and development for job opportunities.

            These unfair practices begin at the lower level of instruction and continue through high school in various kinds of undercurrent deceitful ways. The ultimate objective is to push out into the streets and thereafter into prisons the best Black brains and “graduate” some of the others through a process of “selected education” for a “safe” class of blacks through which they can control Black programmed thinking.

            The best Black brains that can provide the kind of leadership for constructive progress are usually “pushed” out of the system in every respect before they finish high school. Black parents should always be aware of what is going on in the classrooms with their children, and what they are finding at the end of the bus route. Strange things are happening, indeed! So strange that Black colleges and other colleges and universities are receiving Black students less prepared from an academic standpoint than they were back in the 40’s and 50’s to pursue a college program in education. Why is this so?

            Here is what and how it is happening. The reasons are obvious: To retard Black education and progress and push Blacks out of the system along with some genocidal out migration policies against some Blacks (the expendable) in some areas.

1.      In the early grades the Black child will be in Tracks 2, or lower, and will fail and subsequently be held back a year or more. This will guarantee that the Black child will be older than his or her classmates, and a year or more later in finishing college, or getting into a technical school. A teacher has to teach his or her students and be concerned about every aspect of each child’s development to an extent where the child can feel this sense of care and dedication. If not, a mental block will be set up in the Black child’s mind which will be adverse against the teacher, learning, white classmates, and others until the child drops out of the system. Here the Black child is absorbing all this daily and is gradually being programmed to think and believe he or she is not quite as smart as his white middle and upper class classmates. The Black child must constantly be made aware that he or she is Black first—proud of being Black—is an African, a citizen of Africa and no matter where he or she is, and wherever he or she settles it is just an extension of Black Africa, and he or she should be proud of his history and heritage. These unity values of African brotherhood for Black progress with a sense of dedication to our racial progress can only be taught first by our Black educators in preparing our people for the tasks essential for the survival and progress of our race. Others will not do the job for us. They have always done and will continue to do just the opposite. Their plain deceitful program can do more psychological damage to a Black child than the old kind of discrimination ever could, because he is looking at white kids (upper middle class) every day. This, constructively, tells him daily that he is not as good as somebody else. Remedy! All students in all grades should receive the same information and instruction in tax supported institutions and the instruction should be at a level where the average child in the class or grade can absorb the information and earn a passing grade. If remedial courses are required, they should be scheduled at times and places other than at or in regular class periods. Black students should never be failed in lower grades. The quality of dedication and instruction should make sure of this.

2.      When the Black student enters high school he or she, in many cases, will be placed in Track 2, or the slow learner’s track. In this track they will not be exposed to the same information in instruction at the same grade level as those in Track 1. For example, they will be taking sixth grade English and seventh grade mathematics when they should be taking geometry, trigonometry, or second-year algebra and 12th grade English in the 12th grade. They will not be properly counseled about the right kind of academic programs needed in high school to begin chosen careers in colleges or universities or technical schools. Here the same kind of lack of interest on the part of teachers prevails as found in the lower grades and, as a result, some of our best Black students get disgusted and just drop out, the intended purpose of the predominantly white school system. For these and other reasons an organization of Concerned Parents of Black Children (CPBC) should be organized in every school district and at every school to safeguard the educational interests of Black children.

3.      After high school is “finished” the Black students next should take various kinds of entrance tests, ACT, SAT, etc. and fall flat on their faces in too many cases. Why? First because they were placed in Track 2, or lower levels all through grade and high school and never were exposed to the information essential in making satisfactory grades on arithmetic and taking 6th grade English in 12th  grade when they should have been taking geometry or trigonometry or advanced algebra and 12th grade English, plus some foreign languages, etc. Results? A large percentage of them are going to fail during the first and second years in predominantly white colleges or universities. And remember: These deceitful practices will continue at these institutions against Black students. Therefore, Black students at these institutions have to deal with maintaining grades and the extra burden of unfair practices applied against them by some teacher of four years. This is too much of a burden to ask for the Black student to shoulder. Also Black men should hold key administration positions at all levels throughout the system to be assured that the system does not emasculate our males. There are many images of Black students in the truest manner in accord with our aspirations and goals.

            Remedy! First make sure all of our Black colleges and universities will continue always to exist and serve the Black community in particular and the country in general by preparing our Black students to take their places as leaders in the finest tradition as Americans.


We, as Black educators, and our Black institutions are primarily responsible for the education of our people, Black people, now and always in  the various technical areas and in the professions. This primary responsibility cannot and must not ever be shifted to others no matter what! Others will never have and do not now have the special sense of care and dedication we have and must continue to have in ourselves and the education of our Black children to push them in the right direction for our race development and survival in a racist society.


To express myself more bluntly, I must say there are some things in the aspects and ideals of the Anglo-Saxon society Blacks can use for the benefit of Blacks. There are others that we will be better off by letting them stay in the Anglo-Saxon society, because if we attempt to use them in our Black race to solve our problems or enhance our growth, they will destroy us as a unit. Our leaders must be able to know the difference and this can be learned in a Black college or Black university and by Black educators. This is true now and will be true always in the future, because the Black college is the best initial place for most Black students to get a quality college education or leadership unhampered by racial ideals detrimental to our unity and growth.



 The late Professor W. B. Mitchell attended the historic Black college of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and the University of Kansas in Lawrence Kansas. During his life, he co-founded voter registration organizations, founded several credit unions to help African Americans in securing loans for businesses, homes, and farms. He served as treasurer of several NAACP organizations. Professor Mitchell published articles and papers on education and economics. He headed several university departments and served as business manager of several Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He served in World War II. A staff sergeant in communications work, he won Battle Stars for the campaigns of the Arno River and the Apennine Mountains, as well as a combat infantry badge. He was a prisoner of war in Germany until he was liberated by General George Patton’s Third Army. He spoke Italian and German fluently.