HBCUs say $20 million from Thurgood Marshall Fund will help Black students throughout metro Atlanta

ATLANTA — Atlanta is home to the most historically black colleges and universities in one area.

Now, those schools are about to get $20 million. It’s coming in the form of scholarships for students and grants for faculty.

The goal is to get more Black graduates in medicine, business and technology.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes learned that Clark Atlanta University is one of the HBCUs that will benefit from the money. She spoke with Black history professor Dr. Daniel Black, who has taught at Clark Atlanta for 30 years.

He said the money will plant seeds into the schools and the growth we’ll all see is priceless.

“I’ve seen levels of brilliance that’s mind-boggling, and I’ve seen those same students struggle to find $200,” Black said.

Too many times in his career, Black said he has watched money and resources stop brilliant Black students from getting a college education.

So he’s excited about the fact that Novartis has partnered up with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to pour $20 million over 10 years into our local HBCUs and others around the country.

The money will come through student scholarships and faculty grants.

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Black told Fernandes that the funds will have a huge impact on metro Atlanta.

“Clark Atlanta university, a fabulous, amazing institution, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Morris Brown, the Inter Denominational Theological Center -- all right there together. You really can’t get a greater pool of Black intellectual possibility than the Atlanta University Center,” Black said. “For them to get this kind of money assures that these Black folks - these brilliant Black students and faculty members who might not have the resources, but they have the intellectual wherewithal to do this kind of work. It assures that money won’t stop them.”

Dr. Harry Williams is the CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

“This scholarship will play a critical role in reducing that debt for our young people,” Williams said.

Williams told Fernandes that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for more Black health professionals since there were so many more Black victims than any other ethnicity.

“Increasing the number of African American doctors. Right now, we are not where we need to be in that area, so finances have always played a critical role,” Williams said.

Some people look down on HBCUs, so Black told Fernandes that it’s important to note that American icons like Martin Luther King Jr. and Katherine Johnson were HBCU grads.

“Katherine Johnson as a Black woman who figured out the analytical geometry to get a man to the moon and back. What people almost never mention is she’s a graduate of a black institution,” Black said.

The scholarship and grant money is available now. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28. In total, about 1,200 students and faculty will get to use this money.

They’ve got to apply through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

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