Farrakhan urges stewardship of legacy, financial independence for HBCUs


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 22, 2013) — Minister Louis Farrakhan, the national leader of the Nation of Islam, concluded his three-day visit to Tuskegee University tonight with an address that emphasized the importance of self-awareness, education and using knowledge to help uplift communities. 

Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks to students and parents in Tuskegee University's Patterson Hall today.
“That’s who we are, the stewards of what God created for us,” Farrakhan told the audience in the Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace and Health Education.

The leader who was invited by the Tuskegee University Muslim Student Association and the Black Belt Deliberative Dialogue spent his time touring the campus and speaking to university and high school students about finding their purpose and staying on the path to the achievement of their goals. 

Thursday, the university archives and gravesites of Tuskegee’s founder, Booker T. Washington, and renowned professor, George Washington Carver, were among the stops on the leader’s tour. He placed wreathes on the graves of Washington and Carver and prayed that their legacy and the spirit of their work remains strong and goes onward. 

“Tuskegee is more than a university. Tuskegee contains the seminal fruit of the kingdom of God,” he said in remarks this evening. 

Love for yourself

Farrakhan also spoke on the diminishing numbers of blacks in agricultural careers and the importance of the small farmer in our communities. He also cautioned the students about frequenting the many fast food restaurants surrounding the campus. 

“You are our future, but you are eating that which is killing you now,” the minister said. “After you get your knowledge, you will be too sick to implement it.”

This morning in Patterson Hall, the minister addressed several high school students and their parents after viewing a documentary about his travels all over the world. He spoke with several young people in the audience about their future career aspirations and prayed that God would help them achieve their goals. He also encouraged the young people to have pride in their skin color, take care of their bodies and to work on the development of their minds and spirits.

“If you do not love yourself, how can you love your neighbor,” the leader said.

HBCUs must be independent

The leader’s visit to Tuskegee is part of an ongoing series of addresses at Historically Black College and University campuses. Farrakhan, during his Feb. 24 Saviour’s Day address in Chicago, encouraged more economic support for HBCUs. He proposed a donation plan based on individuals saving a nickel a day to help fund HBCU endowments. He also said financial independence was important for HBCUs and the institutions must serve a higher purpose than just conferring degrees. 

“We want our HBCUs to be ours, and they can never be that unless they are financially independent! Do you know our schools are controlled? They don’t want you to learn what will make you free from dependency on others!” Farrakhan said during his February remarks. 

Farrakhan reintroduced the plan during his Tuskegee keynote address and encouraged a return to Booker T. Washington’s founding principles. He also said the university is a key component for ushering in a wave of change in higher education. 

“Just with a nickel, we can be free,” he said. “Tuskegee you are the one. From you, we can unite all the HBCUs with a curriculum of a brand new world.”

Audience at Patterson Hall listening to Minister Louis Farrakhan today.

Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks with Tuskegee University archivist, Dana Chandler, about an artifact on Thursday.

Minister Louis Farrakhan at the gravesite of Booker T. Washington on Thursday.

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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