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VP Harris’ success shines a light on HBCUs

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:43:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Inauguration Day 2021 was a proud day for many in the Big Bend.

Kamala Harris is the first African American, South Asian, and female to hold the office of Vice President. She's also the first graduate of a Historically Black University or College in the White House.

Tallahassee Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox is celebrating even more because she and Vice President Harris are sorority sisters.

"This one is the highest rung that we have. We only have one more rung to go and that's to the presidency. So this is huge," said Williams-Cox.

Both belong to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, with Commissioner Williams-Cox serving as the South Atlantic Region representative.

"The day that he announced that she was gonna be his VP, you should have been here. I was running through my house screaming and yelling," said Williams-Cox.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is one of nine National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations. They are also known as the Divine Nine; all founded by African Americans.

Harris graduated from Howard University, an HBCU in Washington, D.C., and now HBCU's are using her success story to inspire others.

"There are so many HBCU grads that are doing wonderful things globally. This is just another testament to that and it shows others that HBCU's are still relevant and will remain relevant," said FAMU student affairs Vice President Dr. William Hudson, Jr.

Dr. Hudson said more students of all backgrounds are now setting their sites on colleges like Florida A&M University.

"We're making it vital for persons of color to have access and opportunity in higher education. And I think we instill that in all of our students," he said.

Hudson said this political resurgence means more eyes on HBCU graduates.

"If you look at the data and the College of origin for most doctors, lawyers, scientists PhDs in general, The college of origin has been for persons of color HBCU's. So that's an important milestone for HBCU's to have a vice president of the United States. It shows that anything's possible," he said.

Vice President Harris' political director, Vincent Evans, is a FAMU graduate. Other notable names in politics to come from FAMU include Congressman Al Lawson and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris attended an Ivy League college, and the last time that happened was during the Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale administration.