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From the Shreveport Times:

JACKSON, Miss. — Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour’s proposal to merge the state’s three historically black universities has sparked debate over the racial undertones it presents and raised further questions over the state’s historic underfunding of those colleges.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to rectify inequalities between Mississippi’s institutions based on race, said Barbour’s proposal goes against everything the state has been trying to accomplish since agreeing to the Ayers settlement.

The Ayers settlement was the result of a 1975 lawsuit that alleged Mississippi through its funding process discriminated against Alcorn State, Jackson State and Valley State.

According to the settlement reached in 2002, the Legislature is to provide $503 million to the historically black schools over 17 years.

“In the eyes of a lot of Americans it appears that the black colleges are being attacked once more,” he said.

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