Dr. Samuel L. Myers (Photo/NAFEO)
The NAFEO Nation– the 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 80 Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) celebrates the life and rich legacy of Dr. Samuel L. Myers, NAFEO President (1977-1995) who passed on January 8, 2021 in his 101st year of life. Dr. Lezli Baskerville, President & CEO of NAFEO and the NAFEO Nation wish the immediate and extended families of Dr. Myers, a peaceful and uplifted heart as they hear from the many whose lives he transformed, including all in the HBCU Community. Dr. Myers was loved and revered for the valiant fight he led to place and keep HBCUs and other equal educational opportunity institutions on the global, national, and state agendas; and for the partnerships he fostered with federal agencies and corporate entities. Dr. Meyers’ leadership of NAFEO led some HBCUs to “surthrive” and many others to thrive. Hundreds of HBCU presidents, chancellors and others in the HBCU Community were blessed to have been part of the remarkable journey of Dr. Samuel L. Myers, Sr. Thousands of others enjoy the benefits of the vision, leadership, service and successes of Dr. Myers. Through the ongoing work of NAFEO the struggle to prod equity and justice in state investments in and treatment of public HBCUs continues. Because of the work of Dr. Samuel L. Myers, Sr., more people understand the centrality of HBCUs and PBIs to the realization of a strong, just, pluralistic, inclusive, compassionate, sustainable America. A luta continua, vitória é certa.
NAFEO calls on the State of Maryland to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Myers, one of the State’s preeminent leaders, a former president of Bowie State University, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Minority Access, and a resident of the State until his death, by settling the 44-year administrative, legislative, and legal struggle between NAFEO and the State to remove the vestiges of Maryland’s sad and stubborn history of de jure discrimination in higher education, and the lingering and crippling impacts of the discrimination. The struggle was not just between NAFEO and the State. NAFEO’s struggle with the State of Maryland was aided by allies and partners including Dr. Mary Francis Berry, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, prestigious law firms, the alumni and friends of Bowie State, Coppin State, and Morgan State universities, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, as well as a coterie of Maryland state legislators and officials. “Without settlement, the good Maryland public higher education system will never move from “good to great.” The public and private workforces and service corps in the State will never be world class until the manifest vestiges of de jure discrimination in its public higher education institutions are eliminated.”