N.C. A&T Selects Harris’ “The State Must Provide” as 2022 Text-in-Community Read

By Jamie Crockett and Todd Simmons / 08/17/2022 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 17, 2022) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Text-in-Community (TIC) program has announced Adam Harris’ highly lauded “The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal – And How to Set Them Right” as the campus book for the 2022-23 academic year.

This is a photo of author and award-winning journalist Adam HarrisHarris is an award-winning staff writer for The Atlantic, and previously reported on higher education policy and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for The Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2021, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. “The State Must Provide” is his first book, and he is currently at work on his second.

“The State Must Provide” explores the history of inequity that has long plagued Black students, HBCUs and African Americans in higher education overall. Publisher HarperCollins describes Harris’ book as a “definitive chronicle of higher education’s failed attempts at equality and the long road still in front of us to remedy centuries of racial discrimination—and poses a daring solution to help solve the underfunding of HBCUs. Told through a vivid cast of characters, ‘The State Must Provide’ examines what happened before and after schools were supposedly integrated in the 20th century and why higher education remains broken.”

“Harris’s writing is as refreshing as it is haunting,” raved the New York Times Book Review. “‘The State Must Provide’ is a must-read, detailing the complex dynamics that both reflect our nation’s dark history and show us the way toward a more equitable future.”

Thousands of copies of the book are being made available to A&T students interested in participating in the TIC program this year. The book is sure to generate meaningful engagement and is being paired with other similar thought-provoking works, such as the 2007 Denzel Washington feature, “The Great Debaters,” which is being screened during Welcome Week. It is also being incorporated in selected course curricula during the school year. A&T’s F.D. Bluford Library has also curated an accompanying subject guide to “The State Must Provide.”

An upcoming public event featuring Harris as keynote speaker will be announced at a later date, once details are confirmed.

Harris’ book has sparked intense new dialogue and investigative reporting on racial inequity in higher education since its publication last fall. Most notably, a February 2022 article in Forbes magazine took an unprecedented look at documented funding-formula inequity between predominantly-white land-grant universities and HBCU land grants. The nation’s largest HBCU, A&T was noted as the greatest center of inequity in the Forbes investigation by higher education editor Susan Adams -- $2.8 billion over a 33-year span. 

“We’re looking forward to engaging our campus community with this text, especially with both the investments in HBCUs and the challenges we are still facing that may or may not make headlines,” said Briana Hyman, TIC Committee co-chair and lecturer in the Department of History and Political Science. “There is no better time than the present to participate in these discussions and increase awareness and efforts to enact change.”

A&T established the TIC program in 2003 with a focus on activities that would facilitate important and relevant conversations across the campus community. The first selection, “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. DuBois, renewed discussions on the progress, obstacles and future opportunities associated with the African American experience 100 years after its publication date. The program is presented today by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

A&T’s previous campus reads include:

  • “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
  • “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
  • “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” by Wes Moore
  • Mens et Manus: A Pictorial History of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University” by Teresa Styles and Valerie Nieman
  • “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai
For faculty and staff members interested in receiving a copy of Harris’ book, please fill out this form

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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