Dr. David L. Reed ('94), assistant professor of history, delivered the keynote address at Spring Convocation on Feb. 11. Reed recited a list of outstanding HBCU grads who have made an impact around the world, proving the significance and relevance of HBCUs.
“When people question relevance of HBCUs I argue: Yes!” he said.
Starting with the black presence in America prior to the Mayflower, Reed said that blacks suffered under slavery until 1865. There was no expectation that black people would not be anything other than slaves, he said.
However, free black businessmen and Quakers worked together to create schools for blacks. This was an effort that began before slavery was struck down legally, Reed said.
The education of blacks was challenged then as it is now by those opposed to this effort, Reed said.
Bowie State University started in the basement of a black church in Baltimore before moving to Prince George’s County, Reed said. The school started out educating teachers to teach elementary students and later middle school students. Today, the university has grown to nearly 5,400 students.
“The special gift of a teacher is to see inside the heart of a student,” Reed said.
Reed took time to highlight the accomplishments of the nine presidents of BSU.
Regarding President Burnim’s accomplishments, he cited the chief executive’s fundraising, new construction and new academic programs attained under his leadership.
Reed paid tribute to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, as someone who was forward -thinking in preserving black history and culture. if you are getting an education at Bowie State University it is because 150 years ago someone was thinking about you,” Reed said.