‘I’m Tired of Being Terrorized Like My Grandparents’: HBCU Bomb Threats Echo Civil Rights Attacks

Numerous bomb threats against historically Black colleges across the nation evoke memories of racist violence, like the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama church that killed four young girls and injured many others. (AP Photo)

By Emiene Wright

February 4, 2022

At least six people may be involved in the wave of recent bomb threats on HBCUs. Coinciding with Black History Month, the offenses echo racist attacks from the Civil Rights era and are being investigated as hate crimes.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified six persons of interest in the recent rash of bomb threats to historically Black colleges and universities. 

This week, at least 20 HBCUs received bomb threats as Black History Month began.The FBI said its joint terrorism task forces were investigating the threats as racially motivated hate crimes.

The instances echo a wave of similar threats reported in early January, when North Carolina Central and other universities were forced to clear campuses.

These threats do more than shut down classes and disrupt the educational process for thousands of students. Just a year after armed insurrectionists overran the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, they prompt fears of present-day terrorism from fellow Americans, but they also provoke the generational trauma that African American families have weathered from white violence in the U.S. 

Bombs and explosives were weapons of choice for racist extremists from the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre of 1921 through the Civil Rights Movement. For perpetrators to ramp up these crimes as Black History Month begins is both callous and calculated. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty and HBCU Caucus Founder and Co-Chair Alma Adams issued a joint statement Tuesday:

“The continued bomb threats against HBCUs are hate crimes that must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” it read. “Terrorism and racism have no place on college campuses or anywhere in our nation.”
As Spelman College student Saigan Boyd told CNN Wednesday, “I’m just tired of being terrorized like how my grandparents were.”


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