Hundreds of HBCU students, alumni, and supporters rallied this week to show their support for Maryland’s four HBCUs in the final days of the historic HBCU equality lawsuit and to lay out a vision for the future.

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Hundreds of students, young alumni, and other supporters show up for HBCU Rally at Masonic Lodge in Baltimore. (AFRO Photo/Deborah Bailey)

“We’re writing history for all people attending HBCUs across America,” DeJuan Patterson, one of the rally’s lead organizers, told a crowd that filled the Eutaw Street Masonic Lodge.

The rally brought supporters of the state’s four HBCUs together to lay out next steps as the remedial phase of the lawsuit closes out on Feb. 21. During those proceedings, the parties to the lawsuit will attempt to agree on a plan to address the illegal duplication of HBCU programs at other state schools.

Organizers are hoping to fill the courtroom in the final days.

“You being at the courthouse makes a difference,” said Rashad Staton, Morgan State University alum and co-organizer of the evening’s event. “Let’s stand in the courtroom on Thursday and let’s stand in the court next Tuesday so we can send a message to every level of government that we value our own lives.”

Earl Richardson, president emeritus of Morgan State University, reminded the audience that the state of Maryland will act in their interest only as long as HBCU supporters press for change.

“Since we went to court, you see buildings going up on our campuses,” Richardson said. “As soon as the pressure is off, they will go back to business as usual. They will stop immediately if pressure is not applied.”

The last two days of testimony in the remedial phase were scheduled for Feb. 16 and Feb. 21 at the U.S. Federal District Court of Maryland, 101 West Lombard Street in Baltimore.  Court is in session from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.

”It’s up to us to create our own stories,” Patterson urged the gathering.

“Ask where your university president stands on these issues,” he said.