Black Americans have contributed more to president-elect Joe Biden‘s campaign than any other president in U.S. History. More Black Americans organized, marched, registered, and voted for Biden than in any other presidential election.
However, a select few were directly involved in Biden’s winning campaign, and they all have one thing in common: they are all graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Below are a profile of four HBCU graduates who directly led to Biden becoming the president-elect and Kamala Harris becoming the vice president-elect.
Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond months before the election and going against billionaires that were running such as Mike Bloomberg.
Bottoms, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, was significant to Black voters supporting Biden in Atlanta. The mayor was paramount in making sure polling stations were safe and residents had all the necessary information on where and when to vote.
When asked how her HBCU experience prepared her for being the mayor of a major city, Bottoms said certain values are instilled in you when attending an HBCU and those values ensure you succeed in anything you do.
“There is a consciousness, confidence, and compassion that is instilled in you when you attend an HBCU,” Lance Bottoms said. “I never once questioned whether or not could I compete at the highest levels because I was surrounded and supported by the best and the brightest hard-working students, faculty, and staff.”
Bottoms added watching Harris, a fellow HBCU graduate, become the first Black woman to be named vice president will have a significant impact on the number of HBCU college applicants who may not have previously considered attending an HBCU.
Voting Rights Advocate Stacey Abrams Fair Fight Action, an organization dedicated to fighting voter suppression. Abrams’ organization and its efforts directly led to hundreds of thousand of Black residents in the state to register and vote. As a result, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Abrams’ fight to get Black Americans registered to vote is one she picked up from her parents.
“It was actually my family that was involved in social justice and the civil rights movement, my dad was arrested at 14 registering Black people to vote during Jim Crow,” said Abrams, a tax attorney who served in Georgia’s House of Representatives for a decade.
Abrams had a message for HBCU students who might be struggling through the coronavirus pandemic and not getting the typical college experience because of it.
“College is an opportunity to not only learn for the future but it’s a place to discover who you are and while that’s accomplished in communion directly,” Abrams said. “It cannot be negated by distance and so I encourage students to stay connected with one another, to use social media and distance learning to challenge one another, but to always remember that you are part of a community that stretches across this nation and across decades, more than a century.
“Part of the nature of an HBCU experience is understanding how adversity leads to opportunity and I would hold to that, cling to that, and find a way to make that a part of your future,” Abrams added.