Dr. Evelyn Bethune Has a Few Things to Say. “I thought I stepped into bizarro world and my family was insulted,” said Dr. Evelyn Bethune, the granddaughter of Mary McLeod Bethune, on May 14 on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
“I was highly insulted and my family was insulted,” she added.
The granddaughter of presidential advisor and civil rights legend Mary McLoud Bethune had more than just a few observations to share about Bethune-Cookman University President Edison Jackson’s decision to invite Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to speak at the school’s commencement on May 10.
DeVos was loudly booed and students turned their backs to Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education during her commencement speech. The decision to invite DeVos appears to have been singularly made by the University’s president Edison Jackson without substantial input from students and other members of the campus community.
In the aftermath, the Historically Black College’s graduates have been supported in their protest. Trump Administration officials argue that HBCUs avoiding budget cuts as well as the addition of year-round Pell funding has been a win for HBCUs.
“DeVos has no credentials that qualify her to be the Secretary of Education and it was insulting to give her an honorary doctorate,” said Bethune.
“I held a picket sign against Bethune-Cookman for the first time” she continued during an interview with Joyner and Roland Martin on News One Now on TV One. Many faculty members have rallied around the students in the aftermath of their commencement protest which received national news coverage.
When asked about whether the students should have protested by turning their backs when DeVos took the podium, Bethune responded, “Our country was founded on civil disobedience. We’d still be picking cotton if we didn’t protest.”
Dr. Evelyn Bethune also noted that no one at the school solicited her opinion on the matter. Members of the Tump Administration will have many opportunities to assist HBCUs in the near future.