Obama Extends U.S. Efforts for Black Colleges

President Obama on Friday signed a renewal of the executive order on federal efforts to assist historically black colleges. While the executive order itself follows the form of orders in previous administrations, the head of the Obama administration’s effort for the colleges said that the executive order would set off a change in philosophy on how the government could work with the institutions.

The order itself authorizes the continuation of an office in the Education Department to focus on ways that all federal agencies can work with and support historically black colleges. President Obama signed the order at a White House ceremony attended by numerous black political and education leaders as well as the Trojan Explosion Drum Line from Virginia State University.

In his remarks, Obama noted the financial challenges facing black colleges (and just about all of higher education) these days, and also their role. “It was because of these schools that America’s middle class was filled with black doctors and educators and judges and lawyers and engineers and entrepreneurs,” he said. “And today, it’s because of these schools that one out of every two wide-eyed freshmen who arrives on their campuses with big backpacks and bigger dreams is the first in his or her family to go to college.”


Pictured:  US President Barack Obama signs an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 26, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images).