Allow me to be the first to congratulate Ta-Nehisi Coates on his excellent piece about Howard University (“Return of the Mecca?” 2/19). As a history buff, alumnus, and current grad-school student, I was aware of most of the history he recounted. However, it has been a long time since I was made to feel so proud of being a part of this legacy. I, too, remember Dr. Jenifer’s speech during my orientation about the worldwide benefit that goes with being “a Howardite.”
Ironically, one of my mentor professors (and surely the one you referred to who attended the memorial for Ture and had known him, since they both attended Howard in the ’60s) asserts that your piece is off-base because it does not make reference to the role of the FBI’s COINTELPRO in halting student-centered civil rights and Black Power movements. While I do not, nor would I be qualified to, differ with her on COINTELPRO’s anti-black role in the ’60s, ’70s, and even the ’80s, I do not agree that it is responsible for the mind-boggling student apathy of the day. I am convinced that students start movements, not the other way around.
So, from a brother and fellow writer, keep up the good work.
via the Internet