We are on the eve of the 160th Anniversary of The Lincoln University, in Lincoln University, PA. That's right, it is the first Degree Granting HBCU in the USA - or anywhere for that matter - founded 11 years before the beginning of the Civil War, on April 29, 1854. It was originally called Ashmun Hall, but was renamed Lincoln University in 1866, in honor of President Abraham Lincoln following his assassination.
I just want to insert a quick note, for our brothers and sisters at Cheyney State University, who maintain Cheyney was the first College. Cheyney was founded in 1837 as Institute for Colored Youth in Pennsulvania. And it has the distinction of being the first of its kind. However, it did not become a degree granting institution until 1914. They are both great schools; and Pennsylvania has the distinction of being the state where the first two Black HBCU's were founded - you'd think they'd buy a clue and capitalize on this distinction, instead of trying to undermine these great institutes of learning.
You hear me brag about Lincoln all the time. It's my Alma Mater - along with such greats as Cab Calloway, Thurgood Marshall (the Only Black Supreme Court Justice); Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana; Nnamdi Azikewe, first President of Nigeria; Peter Ndiege, brother of Tom Mboya, Minister of Finance of Kenya; Langston Hughes, Judge Bruce Wright (a/ka/a Turn em loose Bruce); Gil Scott-Heron, Randy Cain of the Delphonics; Philadelphia Representative Cherrelle Parker; John Jay professor Dwight Murph; Temple University Professor Anthony Montiero; activist/author/professor Sam Anderson; - but enough of the name dropping.
Okay, just one more fact: Lincoln University is the Only HBCU to have given Africa two Presidents: Nkrumah and Azikewe. And its' the college Philadelphia native Bill Cosby sent his TV daughter, Vanessa, to when she went away to school, on his award winning TV SitCom, The Cosby Show.
Lincoln University has nurtured some of the greatest Black minds on the planet. And continues to do so, despite the fact that there has been a reduction in financial assistance via the State of Pennyslvania. There are time honored traditions that has made it one of the most outstanding HBCUs in history. Our Alumni Association is the first African American Alumni Association in the US, and dates back to 1872. And while there are many who would try to say otherwise, the importance and viability of Lincoln University, and other HBUs throughout the US is more crucial and significant than ever before.
At issue is the fate of the original buildings on Lincoln University's campus that have been there pretty close to its inception. As with any other college or university - Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton - these structures are hallowed halls, and go to make up the character and history, the very nature of the environment itself.
It has come to our attention that there is a threat to demolish these buildings to make way for more "modern" edifices. One building in particular, named for African Presidents Azikewe and Nkrumah, and the oldest structure on the campus, built in 1865, was announced to be scheduled for demolition!!! Something that is unthinkable under any circumstance.
There historical structures on Lincoln's campus should have long ago been part of the National Register of Historical Buildings. Architects have studied the properties and identified the ones that have distinct historical relevance - however, as far as I'm concerned, none of the older buildings should be demolished - but I can't say the same for some of the newer ones that were constructed under substandard conditions.
We, the Alumni Association of Lincoln University are rallying to make sure that these buildings are not to be demolished. To that end we are circulating petitions, and would appreciate it if you would kindly sign it and return them to the email address below. They will be presented to the State of Pennsylvania Historical and Landmarking society, and other entities to preserve these buildings, not just because they are a part of Lincoln University, but because they are a part of Our Black Heritage as a people. It's part of the mosaic that we are still piecing together that tells the complete story of who we were, who we are, and how far we've come.
And while it's important for Alumni to sign this petition, we are not limiting the circulation to Alumni alone. We are asking everybody who honors Black history, and who feels that our contribution as a people is just as viable, if not moreso, than any one else's in this country, to sign to send a clear signal that our history, our story has value and is to be preserved, honored and respected.
Please read the following message, and sign the petition to Save and Preserve the Historical Buildings on the Campus of Lincoln University, PA.
York alumni and Friends of Lincoln University, we are just a few
signatures away from the goal of 10,000 signatures on the petitions to
save Azkikwe-Nkrumah Hall and to tell the Board of Trustees to consider
the alumni proposal to create a Lincoln University Historic District
that will save all 15 historic buildings. So proud of all students,
alumni, faculty, staff and friends who have signed. If you have not
done so, please sign today to let them know that these buildings are
monuments to all past, present and future students and far too valuable
as part of Pennsylvania's history, African-American history and the
nation's history to be destroyed. Let's go beyond goal by forwarding to
family and friends! You’ll find the petitions on our website: http://www.luheritage.org/ God bless you all!