Professor Launches Ida B. Wells-Barnett Textbook Fund to Raise Money for HBCU Students

Dr. Stacey Patton is spreading awareness about her Ida B. Wells-inspired initiative aimed at helping students at Morgan State and Howard University who are facing financial hardships.

“When I began teaching journalism at Morgan State University in 2016, I noticed that a number of my students were struggling to keep up with their assignments,” Patton wrote on GoFundMe.

“Upon further investigation, I discovered that they had not purchased books for class because they could not afford them,” she continued. “As many of you probably know, the costs to attend college have skyrocketed over the past few decades. Paying for tuition, housing, meals, and books is often a struggle for many students across the country.”

Not one to see a problem and not come up with a solution, the journalist, advocate, and educator launched the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Textbook Fund. Named after the civil rights pioneer who used her journalism to unveil the evils of lynching plaguing the country.

Through the fund, Dr. Patton has raised over $150,000 in the past nine academic semesters. After relaunching a GoFundMe with a $25,000 goal, the fund has already surpassed the goal by $5,000.

Patton explained how the $25k typically helps around 70 students between the two HBCUs. The students are required to fill out a form listing all of the textbooks they need for the semester.

Those selected receive a $250 stipend on a first-come-first-served basis. Students can also use the money for course software, hotspots, and digital equipment for production classes.

Noting how fast the funds go and how she often has to turn students in need away, Dr. Patton continues the textbook fund to help as many scholars as she can.

“I’ve heard from many recipients that this textbook fund has made a huge difference in their ability to perform well and complete their coursework,” Dr. Patton said.

“So, I hope that you’ll take a moment and give what you can spare. No amount is too small. Our students appreciate your generosity.”