By: Victor Trammell
Delaware State University (DSU) was founded in 1891 and is one of the country’s first and most prominent historically black colleges (HBCUs). Located in Dover, Delaware, the fully accredited university has additional satellite campuses located in the Delaware cities of Wilmington and Georgetown. Approximately 4,200 students are currently enrolled in the school. It is the second largest public university in the state of Delaware.
Dr. Jahi Issa (pictured above) was formerly employed by DSU as a professor of American History and Africana Studies. On August 17, 2012, Dr. Issa was fired by the HBCU for reasons attributed to an arrest that occurred on campus during a rally organized by the school’s students. The students held a peaceful rally, which was organized to protest the recent firings of favored black professors at DSU. After the melee, Delaware State Attorney Beau Biden’s offices filed Class A misdemeanors against the former professor. Dr. Issa is set to go to trial on October 22, 2012. Beau Biden is the oldest son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Click this link to see footage of the DSU student rally and Dr. Issa’s arrest:
Dr. Issa’s permanent discharge came from his decision to attend and support the March 1, 2012 student rally at a DSU Board of Trustees meeting. In a phone interview with Victor Trammell, a journalist for BlackBlueDog.com, Dr. Issa explained the details of his case and answered questions about his opinion of liberal America’s coined, ”post-racial society.” (VT-Victor Trammell, DJI- Dr. Jahi Issa) Here is an actual excerpt of the phone interview’s transcript:
VT: Why were you arressted at this peaceful rally?
DJI: I was outside the school building (Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Peace) supporting students at a rally who were requesting that HBCUs hire more African-American professors. Campus police forcibly arrested me and charged me with inciting a riot, inappropritately touching an officer, foul language, and resisting arrest. Of course I pleaded not guilty to all charges. I believe my arrest was a result of retaliation based on a complaint I filed with the EEOC a year before this. I also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division.
VT: Do you believe that racial diversity at our country’s HBCUs should be a main priority in the 21st Century?
DJI: I don’t believe that influencing diversity in HBCUs should be a function of the federal government. It is a proven fact that black students who receive degrees from HBCUs, which have a predominantly black faculty go on to be more productive in the workforce than the black students who graduate from predominantly white colleges. Why would we change that trend? There seems to be a mainstream under-handed agenda to disrupt that progress.
VT: Do you think HBCUs are caving to radical liberal pressure to become more racially diverse?
DJI: I believe the country’s HBCUs are already racially diverse. Howard University is more racially diverse today than Harvard University is. The issue is not about diversity. It’s about stripping HBCUs of their favored authentic black professors and keeping black students away from them. Society seems to challenge the credibility of our HBCU’s African-American studies programs. In regard to my casee, I believe there is a double-standard weighed against blacks who exercise their first ammendment rights. We have a right to bring attention to the current struggles of our people’s culture.
VT: Do you agree with Malcolm X’s assertion that there can be no black assimilation of America’s vision for diversity until there is first more black unity?
DJI: First of all, I would like to tell you that I am a member of the NAACP. They told me they could not pursue my case. I know Al Sharpton personally and he told me the same thing. I agree with Malcolm X’s assertion 100%. I even agree that our country’s President would agree with that state of mind as well (laughs). He wrote that Malcolm X was his hero…He wrote it. I didn’t (laughs).
VT: In your opinion, does Obama’s presidency signify a post-racial America?
DJI: It does to the white liberal elite. They believe that the agendas of black organizations in America that want more attention paid to the still prevalent disparities suffered by blacks today must be pushed into obscurity. I think some people in this country wished Obama’s presidency symbolized a new post-racial America. But on the real, that is not a firm reality.
Dr. Issa is in dire need of an effective defense fund to argue his reasonable case against the Delaware State Attorney’s office. To donate any amount to his cause please click on the following link: www.hbcuinstitute.org
Dr. Jahi Issa has written two articles about the demise of HBCUs to two media sources. Click the following links to read them:
Victor Trammell is a resident of the Kansas City, Missouri Metropolitan area and is a student at the University of Phoenix School of Business Campus in Kansas City. He is a writer and editor for the YourBlackWorld.Net Coalition founded by Dr. Boyce Watkins.