Remarks at a White House Briefing for Supporters and Presidents of Historically Black Colleges
Thank you. And thank you, Dr. Margaret Seagears and Dr. Paul Huray, for putting this conference together. I'm looking forward to receiving a copy of your final report. It's a pleasure to be here today with the presidents and supporters of colleges and universities that has meant so much to American life.
the day the first black college,
why men like Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., understood and stressed the importance of education. As Frederick
Douglass once said, ``A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but
the want of learning is a calamity to any people.'' Today your schools award
some 40 percent of all degrees that are earned by black students in the
You know, mentioning military officers, Martin Luther King used to remind us that black Americans are among our greatest patriots. And I take special pride in mentioning this because I remember during the war I narrated a film about a group of such patriots, pilots being trained at Tuskegee -- including one who would go on to become a great general and a national hero, Chappie James. And even though I was only a member of the horse cavalry, I can't tell you how proud I am that they made me an honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen. I don't know whether that was because, even as a horse cavalryman, come World War II, I found myself flying a desk for the Air Force. [Laughter] But I'm proud, too, that the tradition of patriotism I saw when I was working on that film is being carried on in the strong ROTC programs on many of your campuses.
we first came to
And in a goal that I believe is particularly important, we've encouraged greater private participation in your colleges and universities. It's part of our whole approach, really. For too long, well-meaning Government programs had lured too many Americans into the deep, dark caverns of dependency. We want to help free them to climb out and walk in the sunlight of pride and independence. So, we're working to create enterprise zones and establish a youth employment opportunity wage. We established the Job Training Partnership Act. We cut taxes for all Americans, and with tax reform -- perhaps the greatest antipoverty program in history -- we'll take 6 million lower income Americans off the rolls entirely. And we've also said that helping ensure the health and independence of your schools was, is, and will be one of the most important steps we can take in making ours truly an opportunity society for all Americans. So, that's why we're here today, to recognize some of the partnerships between business and historically black colleges in the fields of science and technology. And I understand that in the past 2 days you've talked about how to encourage more of those partnerships.
today is pioneering a new industrial revolution -- a revolution that's creating
new jobs, new technologies, new businesses, and new opportunities and changing
the way we think and work; a revolution in which America is the world leader; a
revolution so profound that some believe that it is only compatible with free
societies and that once it pierces the walls of the Communist world, those
walls may begin to crumble and fall. Many graduates of your schools have helped
lead our nation in this revolution; for example, an American hero, Dr. Ronald
McNair, who was a graduate of
week, I'm told, you've discussed such imaginative proposals as tapping the vast
array of talent and experience in
I've talked about the special problems and opportunities that
two-thirds of high school seniors use an illegal drug at least once before
graduating. Forty percent of high school seniors have used drugs in addition to
marijuana. At least 17 percent of the class of 1985 tried cocaine, the highest
level ever, and it's going up in all groups -- urban and rural, college-bound
and not, male and female -- everyone. And it doesn't stop with high school.
Almost one in every five college students reports great pressure to use drugs.
Some of the most eloquent voices warning against the drug plague are in this
room. President Willie Robinson of
Well, that's what Nancy and I are calling on all Americans to do. I'd like to interject something. This morning I turned on the set real quick because I knew she'd been taped and was appearing in an interview on the air, and she was asked a question about -- but where, you know, how far down does this begin? And I had forgotten this answer that she had learned on one of her trips -- the various treatment centers. A lad 8 years of age, not only a user but a pusher, and he carried one of those beeper things, sitting in class. If he got the signal on the beeper he excused himself and went out because the beeper meant he had a customer outside waiting to buy. That's how early and that's why, as she said, their names, our children's names, are the ones that are written on it.
Nancy and I are calling, as I say, on all Americans to do -- it won't be the
campaign against drugs won with more police, although that will help. It won't
be won just with tighter control on our borders, although that will help. And
it won't be won just in schools, although that's important. It won't be won
just in the fraternities, or sororities, or dormitories -- and that's
important. It won't be won just in our workplaces, no matter how important they
are. It won't be won just in our homes, although they're very important, too.
It won't be won just in any of those places. It has to be won in all of those
places. And I believe it will be now. It's a crusade we must fight on every
front -- from the borders of our magnificent country and beyond to the inner
soul that God gave us, where we must each find the courage for the battle. In a
this is how
The President spoke at in Room 450 of the