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Raleigh HBCU merger talk draws varied response within the city

Raleigh HBCU merger talk draws varied response within the city

The dinner table talk of merging Raleigh HBCU Saint Augustine’s University with neighbor Shaw University is getting a lot of blowback. 

Reaction has been heard far and wide since HBCU Gameday published part of a letter suggesting that the two Raleigh-based HBCUs — both of which have been in the North Carolina capital since the Reconstruction Era — merge to form one. 

“We are Raleigh history. To merge both universities, we’d lose that,” said Demetria Buie, a 2001 Saint Aug graduate, to ABC11. “Everyone knows that Saint Augustine’s and Shaw University are land rich. To have that discussion regarding land, is not farfetched.”

According to the leader by Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Boulware, at least a segment of the Raleigh business community want Shaw and Saint Aug to merge and for Shaw to move away from the same downtown it has been a part of since 1865. 

Raleigh has been discussing how to revitalize and develop its downtown sector for a year. Tobias McLean owns Harris Barber College on South Blount Street, across from Shaw’s campus. He’s hopeful that the revitalization will include 

“One thing it will increase is the value of the property here,” McLean said. “Also, they’re cleaning it up around Shaw and in this area here so it would be a good thing to enhance the neighborhood and community.”

“I think it’s a great thing, making this area what it should be,” Merrick Scheidler, a student at Harris Barber College, told ABC11. “But I think at the same time there should also be that culture that’s left there.”

Saint Augustine’s University, struggling with financial and accreditation issues, isn’t in the center of downtown — but it is in a rapidly changing (I.e. gentrified) neighborhood. 

“Someone may say, ‘Oh, it’s just a couple of acres,’ but it’s acres that the students used to become the wonderful people that our city needs, our country needs,” business owner Malaika Kashaka said.

Raleigh HBCU merger talk draws varied response within the city

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