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Tuskegee to host HBCUS, HBTWS organizational summit

The Tuskegee News of Tuskegee, Alabama

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On July 9-10, the City of Tuskegee will host an historic organizational summit with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Historic Black Towns and Settlements (HBTS).

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together representatives of colleges and towns to organize an alliance designed to benefit both the colleges and the towns.

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford made the following comments:"We are inviting them to Tuskegee, because we are the home of Tuskegee University, where we are recognizing the 100th anniversary of the death of Dr. Booker T. Washington, who was the champion of black colleges and black schools on all levels, including the famous Rosenwald Schools. Booker T. Washington also championed the cause of organizing black towns and settlements. Here in Tuskegee, he not only developed Tuskegee University but he also developed the "Village of Greenwood,' or Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, with its own U.S. Post Office. "So it is fitting, that 100 years after his death, we revisit Washington's legacy of bringing together 'Town and Gown' for their mutual benefit. We are very pleased that our local city, county, and state, officials will help us to welcome to our community and state leaders in both education and politics, who will join us from around the country for this historic meeting. "We especially want to thank Dr. Brian Johnson, the President of Tuskegee University, who joined me and representatives from Historic

Black Towns and Colleges in a May conference call extending a welcome to all to convene the summit at the Kellogg Conference Center located on the campus of Tuskegee University. "The City Council of Tuskegee has also adopted a Resolution welcoming the Summit to the City of Tuskegee. In addition to representatives of colleges and historic Black towns, we expect some outstanding national leaders."

They are: 1 Dr. Michael Lomax President/CFO of the United Negro College Fund, an organization which raises millions of dollars for HBCUs. The UNCF was founded by Dr. F.D. Patterson, the third President of Tuskegee University.2 Tom Davidson, Founder/CEO of Everfi, an Educational Technology Company, which provides millions of dollars of free educational digital programs to public schools and colleges across the country. I am proud to say that Tom Davidson accepted my invitation five years ago to start EverFi here in Tuskegee/Macon County. Thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Brooks, Superintendent of the Macon County School System, who said yes to EverFi. Booker T. Washington High and Notasulga High in Macon County became the first schools to have the EverFi Program. Now EverFi is reaching over 1.4 million students nationwide.

3. "America's Top Mayor," the Honorable Kevin Johnson, the immediate past president of the U. S. Conference of Mayors, a past president and Trustee of the African American Mayors Association and the Mayor of Sacramento, the capital city of California.

Mayor Johnson is not only a former NBA star of the Phoenix Suns, but he is now a champion of quality education at every level of the community. He will speak on the Mayor's role in education.

4. Ellis Alexander, president of the National Black Caucus of School Board Members, an official caucus of the National School Board Association, which is the voice of public school board policy makers in America. President Alexander will speak on the role of public schools in preparing students for historically Black Colleges, and for life.

5. The Honorable Dr. James Walls, Jr., president of both the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Official (NBCLEO), and The World Conference of Mayors (WCM). Mayor Walls is one of the nation's youngest national leaders and is also past president of the Maryland Conference of Black Mayors and serves as Mayor of District Heights, Maryland. Mayor Walls, a graduate of an HBCU, will speak on the role of local government supporting education at every level.

6. We are pleased that mayors and representatives from the eight cities that comprise the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance (HBTSA) — including the five original founding cities of the Alliance — will be present to initiate this historic alliance between HBCUs and HBTS, and to discuss the necessity and the benefits of an alliance between local government and education on every level.

These Mayors include: the Honorable Ed Jones, Mayor of Grambling, Louisiana, the Honorable Alberta McCrory, Mayor of Hobson City, Alabama, the Honorable Anthony Grant, Mayor of Eatonville, Florida, the Honorable Darryl Johnson, Mayor of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and the Honorable Bobby Jones, Mayor of Princeville, North Carolina, founded in 1885, apparently the oldest Black incorporated town in America, and yours truly, Mayor Johnny Ford, of Tuskegee.

7. The Honorable Walter Hill, president, and members of the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. (ACBM), which represents more than 50 Alabama municipalities, including Selma and Birmingham, will offer their support to education at the secondary and higher education level.

We are dedicating this Summit in honor of Dr. Norman Francis, the President of Xavier University, who retired July 1, 2015 as the longest serving president of a University in America (47 years). Dr. Francis is also a supporter of the Booker T. Washington legacy, because not only does he serve as a college president, but he also serves as the chairman of the board of the Liberty National Bank. His message, via video to the conference is, "We need education as well as economics to bring liberty to our people" We are happy that while in our city, our guests will be able to tour the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, The Tuskegee History Museum, the Commodore Museum and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site" Ford said.

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Original Publication Date: July 2, 2015

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