Tuskegee Univ. Board Member Concerned About Louis Farrakhan's Visit

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By Jessica Gertler

The national leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, is speaking at Tuskegee University next week. But his visit is stirring up controversy. In a Alabama News Network Exclusive -- a Tuskegee University board member speaks out about his concerns.

"There is no question that he hates Jewish people, and I find that appalling," says Andy Hornsby, who sits on the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees.

Hornsby found out Monday that Minister Louis Farrakhan would be speaking at the school. Farrakhan was invited by two student groups, and will be speaking about the economy, education and the need for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

"We shouldn't endorse him anymore than we endorse the Ku Klux Klan. They are two organizations of a similar breed," says Hornsby.

Farrakhan will visit with the university for three days next week.

"He has a right to be there, and I have a right not to go, and I encourage my friends and others not to attend," says Hornsby, who believes in free speech.

Vice President of Student Affairs Cynthia Sellers says the university invites all walks of life to speak at the school.

"We know that his main topic is on Historical Black Colleges and Universities, and of course, by being one, we are very excited," she says.

Farrakhan became the leader of the Nation of Islam in the 1970s.

"Any time that Farrakhan is on the road speaking to groups we are afraid those ideas are going to be spread," says Heidi Beirich with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Farrakhan is on the SPLC's Hate Group Watch List, because of his beliefs.

"All whites are blue-eyed devils. That's part one of their foundation of beliefs," says Beirich. "The other part of their antisemitic ideas that they keep spreading is that Jews ran the slave trade."

And for those reasons, Hornsby says he will not be in attendance at next week's events.

"It's time to put all this hate behind us," he says.

Hornsby says Board Chairman Charles Williams shares his concerns.

Hornsby says the Board of Trustees will be meeting this weekend to discuss how they should handle the matter.

Farrakhan's keynote address will be next Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. in the General Daniel James Center.    

We have been told that Tuskegee University has invited Macon County Public Schools to come listen to Farrakhan speak. Superintendent J.A. Brooks says no decision has been made.



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