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HT In National Spotlight As Roland Martin, Rev. Jesse Jackson Appear On Campus

HT In National Spotlight As Roland Martin, Rev. Jesse Jackson Appear On Campus

AUSTIN, Texas – With an emphasis on changing voting rights focused on Central Texas capturing national attention, Huston-Tillotson University was in the spotlight as a pair of nationally recognized icons appeared on the HT campus.

Wednesday, journalist Roland Martin broadcasted his daily digital show ‘Roland Martin Unfiltered’ live from the shadows of the bell tower on the HT Campus. Thursday, civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to an invited segment of civic and community leaders in the Davage-Durden Student Union.

Roland Martin Unfiltered is the first daily online show in history focused on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, and culture from an explicitly African American perspective, reaching nearly 700,000 subscribers on YouTube. Huston-Tillotson University President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette and HT NAACP Student Chapter President Jeffery Clemmons were interviewed live on the show, which focused on the Moral March for Democracy, a 27-mile walk from Georgetown to the Texas State Capitol in support of the campaign for voting rights reforms.

Link to Roland Martin Unfiltered (Dr. Pierce Burnette interview at 19:00 mark; Clemmons Interview at 49:00 mark)

Martin has been a staunch proponent of HBCUs, having been a commencement speaker at more than a dozen Black colleges, and has received honorary degrees from four HBCUs. Among the topics discussed, Martin asked Dr. Burnette how the University dealt with the challenges of Covid-19, the activism of the student body, and the upcoming commencement convocation on August 7, with Dr. Mae Jemison as commencement speaker. Clemmons spoke passionately about the significance of having national leadership engaged at the local and state level to help ensure inclusive voting rights.

Rev. Jackson arrived in Austin Thursday in support of the march, and gave an informed, reflective, and passionate message, urging the need for continued activism to ensure voting rights for all. Rev. Jackson spoke about the importance of Huston-Tillotson University and all HBCUs to engage in the fight for voting rights for all, as he referenced his activism beginning in 1960 as a student at fellow HBCU North Carolina A&T University.

The trip was especially personal for Rev. Jackson, as his Chief of Staff Shelly Davis is a former Huston-Tillotson student.  Davis has been a close, trusted confidant for Rev. Jackson for 20 years and played a significant role in establishing and coordinating the visit to HT.

Martin, a four-time NAACP Image Award recipient, has emerged as one of the most foremost media voices reporting on challenges facing Black America. For nearly 30 years, Martin has covered issues and topics for a variety of national radio and television networks, newspapers, and magazines.

Jackson, Founder and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past fifty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.

For his work in human and civil rights and nonviolent social change, Reverend Jackson has received more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees and frequently lectures at major colleges and universities including Howard, Hampton, Yale, Princeton, Morehouse, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford.