Blogged by @thefineauthor
The beginning of Black History Month brought about a wave of bomb threats aimed at Historically Black Colleges across the country. Though authorities have concluded that the threats were hoaxes, Black college students remain frustrated with law enforcement’s seemingly lack of care. They have also lashed out at the media for the limited coverage of the threats.
Mya Bledsoe, a sophomore at Xavier University, says she only received an alert via email in the middle of the night about the bomb threat. Her mother, who received the same message, called her about the possible bomb on campus. She believes campus police should have done more to make students aware of potential danger.
“I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for her. It was scary because I’m sure a lot of people were sleeping and didn’t get the alert,” Bledsoe stated to NewsHour before adding, “Now that this has happened and this isn’t the first time, they should give us more procedures to know what to do when a real bomb is found.”
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces said that six “tech-savvy” juveniles were likely responsible for the racially motivated threats made to nearly 20 HBCU’s in six states. Now, the agency is investigating their possible involvement in bomb threats in early January. On February 11th, two teenagers were arrested for threatening predominately Black high schools in Washington, D.C. It is unclear if these teens are linked to the HBCU bomb threats.
Xavier University in Louisiana was just one HBCU that was targeted. Howard University in Washington, D.C., Jackson State University of Mississippi, Delaware State University, and Edwards Waters University in Florida were among the schools that received bomb threats at the start of Black History Month. Spelman College in Georgia received the threats in early February and again last week. It was the third time since 2022 began that the school has been placed on high alert due to threats of violence.
Michelle Cooper with the U.S. Department of Education believes that the threats were an attempt to fuel racial tensions in America. She has vowed to continue pursuing justice in the incidents.
Madison Grant, a student reporter for the Xavier Herald, slammed the media for the limited coverage of the bomb threats, sharing that “It is as if our stories don’t matter.”
“I do believe if this was occurring at PWIs [predominantly white institutions] across the country, there would be more coverage,” she added.
While this rash of bomb threats is frightening and disheartening, they are deep-rooted in HBCU history dating back to the Jim Crow era. Sadly, many of these threats have been carried out. One of the most notorious ones is the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1963, which killed four young Black girls attending church service. Civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth had his home damaged on Christmas Day in 1956 by 16 sticks of dynamite planted under his bedroom window by KKK members.