By Brinda Fuller Willis, PhD
Jackson Advocate Contributing Writer
The ABCs of HBCUs by Claudia Walker is perhaps the most appropriate way to introduce Critical Race Theory to the youngest of Black students and to the uninformed adult populous whether you be Black, white, Protestant, and/or Jew.
Walker and illustrator Jessica E. Boyd have produced a superb board book that provides its readers with the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the prep school level and also captures the attention of readers of any age. Not only is the text witty and simply executed, but the illustrations also make one who can’t read or is just learning to read understand the information that the author is presenting.
The author takes us on a historical ride of Black educational institutions by utilizing the alphabet as a tour guide of HBCUs. It also has the musical orchestration of a rapper’s lyricism while making note of the creators of colleges and universities and the contributions that Africans have made “when reading while Black was a crime” in America.
The ABCs of HBCUs incorporates the use of intracultural Black language and symbols that is nowadays copied and woven into almost every advertisement seen on TV, whether it be old school Black R&B music that is used to sell everything from dog food to couture clothing, tennis shoes, and NCIS (John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom”, the Blues hook that’s recognizable to Blues lovers worldwide).
Walker and Boyd highlight and spotlight the most familiar HBCUs such as Jackson State University, Meharry Medical School, Howard University, and Grambling State University and give a high five to iconic symbols associated with Black sororities and fraternities. Also featured is what it means to see the Battle of the Bands and/or Step Show at a Bayou Classic – “The Black Super Bowl.” Other colleges are given their “props” through the insertion of tributes such as:
R is for Rust College in Mississippi,
Where the learning never ends.
It’s for those Revolutionary Roommates –
One day strangers, next, lifelong friends.
To order The ABCs of HBCUs visit www.hbcuprepschool.com and bring the Black experience to your children, extended family, and friends.