One HBCU is the driving force behind the creation of a new black think tank. Paul Quinn College, located in Dallas, Texas, is onto something big. They have partnered with black elected officials to create an African American Leadership Institute. Many might not know much about the oldest HBCU west of the Mississippi River, which was also the first urban work college in the country. Established in 1872 as a school that educated freedmen and their children, Paul Quinn is a part of the strong HBCU legacy.
Under the leadership of President Michael Sorrell, the college has become a thriving epicenter for Dallas. After cutting the football program, Sorrell turned the football field into a community farm. With this community farm, he created the We Over Me Farm to address food desert conditions in southern Dallas. Programs like the We Over Me Farm are just a small example of the impact President Sorrell wants Paul Quinn to have on the world. So with the announcement of a black think tank coming from the campus this week, no one is really surprised by his next big idea.
President Sorrell has joined forces with State Senator Royce West to bring this black think tank to fruition. Senator West wants the leadership institute to serve as a training ground for grooming the next generation of elected officials. Senator West told the press, “Current leaders have a responsibility to not only responsively represent their constituency, but they must create the leaders that will follow behind them. It is this premise that fostered the institute.”
Together, Sorrell and West are bringing elected officials from Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant to help build the framework for the program. President Sorrell created this program to bring attention to the issues affecting blacks in Texas and beyond. “The people of Texas deserve an institute that is devoted to the needs and issues of its African-American community,” he said.
As they currently look for funding to help the program, they are also hoping to find an executive director by November. You can expect the leadership institute to be fully up and running in the next two to three years. Paul Quinn College helps us once again prove that HBCUs are not a dying legacy and are very much a necessary part of the narrative when it comes to the future of black people in America.