Tuskegee Alumni Should Take Boycott Lessons From David Hogg
David Hogg, 18 years-old and a survivor of the Parkland High School Massacre can teach a thing or two to alumni of Tuskegee University about the art of the boycott.
Last month, Laura Ingraham, host of the Fox News Show, The Ingraham Angle mocked Hogg because he has been turned down by four colleges for fall admission.
Ingraham’s mock angered Hogg, so he resorted to a tactic skillfully used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a modern day twist. He called for a boycott of Ingraham’s sponsors.
Nothing novel about calling for a boycott, as King was very successful in exercising the power of the boycott to bring about change.
Hogg issued his threat of a boycott from his twitter account, a megaphone that was not available during King’s lifetime.
From that one tweet, 11 advertisers on The Ingraham Angle have dropped Ingraham. It only took one tweet and one week for Ingraham to issue a public apology to Hogg.
Hogg declined to accept Ingraham’s apology.
Last month, Tuskegee alumni called for the replacement of John Page as chair of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees.
The alumni argued an alum should chair the university’s board.
Floyd Griffin, an alum and the former secretary of the board decided to have his name placed into nomination for the chair position.
Griffin was supported by the Tuskegee National Alumni Association, The Concerned Tuskegee Alumni for Change, the Tuskegee Golden Tigers National Athletic Association and former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes.
On the day of the vote, Griffin was not able to gather support from other members of the board, including sufficient support from other alumni on the board, so he withdrew his consideration before nominations were received by the nomination committee. Also, all officers were re-elected to serve for another term, but not Griffin, he was removed as the board secretary.
The alumni were disappointed in the outcome. A few suggested that John Page’s company, Golden State Foods should be targeted for a boycott. Golden State Foods is a major supplier of hamburger meat and buns to McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is an easy target to boycott. But the alumni, older, more mature and armed with college degrees that Hogg can’t seem to get in position to acquire, voiced fears of Page if they called for a boycott of Golden State Foods or McDonald’s.
One alum expressed fear of bodily harm. A fear this alum believes is well-founded because of Page’s braggadocio about his hood upbringing in Brooklyn.
Others fear Page’s legal acumen. He has argued a case before the United States Supreme Court. They fear Page will sue them and take their personal possessions if his company is embarrassed by a boycott.
The Tuskegee alumni have spent two weeks debating their fears of physical harm and of being sued by Page and Golden State Foods as a reason not to use the most powerful negotiating tool at their disposal.
Meanwhile, in one tweet, young Mr. David Hogg has received a public apology from Ingraham. He has gotten his boycott. Ingraham is not suing and her sponsors are dropping like flies.
All the while, Page still controls the Tuskegee board, non alumni board members remain on the board without making any financial contribution to the university. The Tuskegee alumni are left to fret and stutter over a well established method to bring about change.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org