Discovering Black America's Jailed Gems

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

It's no secret that black and brown men are leading the numbers of incarcerated in America, but what is a mystery is how this country plans to rehabilitate its inmates. Enter Southern University System President Ron Mason and his "Five Fifths Agenda for America," which proposes that HBCUs take a vested interest in the intellectual lives of prisoners. Huffington Post contributor Jarrett L. Carter notes the problems and resistance that Mason's ideas may meet but also why his academic idea could be a great social plan.

Louisiana is an ideal place for this kind of idea to launch. It has the involved Black legislative leadership, alumni base, and ideal HBCU leadership to offer outspoken and consistent focus on how to heal Black men through education and social reconstruction. But the idea, to work in its most efficient and effective form, will have to find nearly universal support from HBCU culture. And while there are plenty of presidents who would privately go to bat to save Black men by meeting them where they are, are there enough leaders to make this concept nationally relevant and viable through the offering of their institutions?

Try to envision most HBCUs making the investment in admissions and recruitment to uncover the 'hidden stars;' Black men who don't have the test scores or grades to qualify for regular admission, but have demonstrated a talent and character indicating a solid probability of college completion and life success. Many HBCUs have a hard enough time processing regular applications and managing TRIO and college prep programs for success outcomes. Mason's program, while needed and structurally feasible, would be hard to sell to those black colleges just trying to stabilize enrollment from year to year.


Read Jarrett L. Carter's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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