By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff Wr1iter,

Maryland Public Television (MPT) is hosting their fourth annual HBCU week from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10. The week-long series of special broadcasts is dedicated to recognizing the importance and impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

MPT’s HBCU centered programming for the upcoming week is a part of their “Standing Against Racism: Fostering Unity Through Dialogue” initiative.

“It’s important to continue to showcase both the history and the contemporary relevance of HBCUs truly as a roadmap, and a role model for America,” said Travis Mitchell, senior vice president and chief content officer of MPT. “Despite how the political winds have blown, HBCUs have figured out a way to stand even when it seemed that the burden was too heavy.”

Mitchell is a proud alum of Morgan State University and has family ties to Shaw University located in Raleigh, N.C. Like many people who have attended and graduated from HBCUs, he is passionate about his alma mater and interested in promoting Black colleges and all that they have to offer.

“If we really want to talk about the importance of HBCUs, and why we must continue to advocate for them and communicate for them, it’s because it’s in America’s vital interest to learn from them,” stated Mitchell. “It’s in America’s vital interests to emulate them. It’s in America’s vital interest to look at how institutions have taken financial lemons and made lemonade. Most importantly, it’s in America’s vital interest to invest in HBCUs because by doing so, you invest seeds today that will produce a future harvest of believers for tomorrow.”

Cheyney University, in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1837 as the first HBCU to come into existence. Since then, a total of 107 HBCUs have been founded in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These institutions have rich histories that have not only shaped their students and alumni, but the nation in its entirety.

Throughout their existence, HBCUs have served as grounds for some of America’s most groundbreaking events while educating some of our nation’s most prominent Black figures.

People such as Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris and Justice Thurgood Marshall all graduated from HBCUs. The programming shown throughout the week will focus on all things related to HBCU culture, including Black art, athletics, music and Black Greek life.

“It’s this smorgasbord effect that gives people an opportunity to taste the culture of HBCUs, value the history of HBCU and understand the current contemporary impact of HBCUs,” shared Mitchell. “We wanted to give people not just history, but we wanted to give them culture. We didn’t want to just give them culture, we want to give them contemporary, relevant news that can really demonstrate how HBCUs are continuing to serve their local communities and impact the areas that they reside in.”

MPT will host activities ahead of the official start of HBCU week. On Sept. 1 the HBCU Week Virtual Career Opportunity Forum will start at noon. Following this, viewers will be able to tune into the variety of original programming created by MPT throughout the week.

On Sept. 4 at 8 p.m., viewers can tune in to “Artworks: Dreamer,” featuring Morgan State alumna Jasmine Barnes and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, in tribute to two of Maryland’s most influential figures: Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. MPT debuted separate documentaries on Douglass and Tubman last year.

Black bands will be put under the spotlight with the documentary “Sounds of the Game” at 9 p.m. on Sept. 4.

“The Morgan Choir: A Joyful Celebration,” will air at 9:30 p.m. on the same night, highlighting the work of the award winning voices from Morgan State University.

On Sept.6 “Afro Blue: A Year in the Life,” a special about Howard University’s jazz vocal ensemble group will be showing at 10 p.m. Shortly after that, “A Bridge to Justice: The Life of Franklin H. Williams will show at 10:30 p.m.

MPT will offer special programming on Sept.8 to honor legendary anthropologist and author, Zoe’s Neale Hurston. On Sept. 9 viewers can get a “Sneak Peak: Inside the CIAA” and learn about the Morgan State Lacrosse team.

The week will close out with documentaries on Hampton University and Delaware State. On Sept. 10 there will also be a showing of the “State Circle Special: Innovative Programs at Maryland’s HBCUs.”

To see the full schedule of specials visit