HAWKINS, Texas (KETK) – Jarvis Christian University hosted a Black History Month convocation on Tuesday in their Smith-Howard Chapel.

Several students attended the assembly and learned about historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s). They listened to the honorary speaker, Dr. Leonard Haynes present. 

Not only has Dr. Haynes served on faculty for several universities, but he was also the first African American to be appointed to the position,. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education and Director of Academic Programs for the U.S. Information Agency by President George H.W. Bush.

He is recognized for his work in education and has counseled many organizations like Ford Foundation and Merck Corporation. He is also the recipient of 14 honorary degrees. 

“I’ve had a number of positions that worked out with historically black colleges, these institutions have been very important to the development of our county,” said Dr.  Haynes.

He added that public schools in America, need more black teachers.

“The importance of these institutions, if they did not exist, we’d have to create them,” said Dr. Haynes. “I hope that they have learned something and that they can internalize it, and appreciate more about where they are because they are at a historically black college,” Dr. Haynes.

Students enjoyed learning about HBCU’s as Jarvis Christian University is one of three in East Texas. Wiley College in Marshall and Texas College in Tyler are also HBCU’s.

“It was amazing, I feel like we needed this a long time ago, I feel like most of the time we learn about history not about black history,” said Cedric Abney, freshman student.

He shares what black history month means to him.

“Respect in a way that you know, some other cultures might not have yet. When we talk about things that need to be talked about I feel like that’s when things start to change,” said Abney.