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24 Years and Counting!

Participants of the 24th Annual Black College Tour traveled to Georgia and South Carolina this year. The hospitality of the residents was fantastic. The students visited the World of Coca-Cola and the CNN Studio in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, March 30. The following day, Betty Mayes, former resident of Oxnard, hosted an Easter dinner at New Bethel A.M.E. Church in Snellville, GA. The students visited Morehouse College, Spelman College, Savannah State University, South Carolina State University, Claflin College, Georgia State University, Morris Brown College, and Clark Atlanta University.

As well as visiting colleges, the students were afforded an opportunity to learn a little about their history. While in Savannah, they spent the afternoon at the Savannah Waterfront. During slavery, the waterfront was the primary location in the area for slave owners to buy or sell slaves. The group also visited First African Baptist Church in Savannah, the first African American Baptist church organized in 1788. The church grew from members of a congregation that was organized in 1773.

One of the highlights of the history aspect of the tour was a visit to Liberty Hill A.M.E. Church in Sumter, South Carolina where the historic case of Briggs vs. Elliott had its beginnings and subsequent meetings. The Briggs vs. Elliott case began before Brown vs. Board of Education, but was the first of five cases combined into the Brown case to expand the educational opportunities and needs of African American students.

Pinkard Innovative Enterprises (PIE) started sponsoring Black College Tours for African American students in Ventura County to provide them an opportunity to see African American students and educational leaders, in numbers, in college settings and enhance their awareness of other higher education options. It is not uncommon for an African American student in Ventura County to be one of 100-150 African American students in schools of 2,500 – 3,000 students. This can mean a lonely, unpleasant experience for some students.  Needless to say, the instructional programs at local high schools do not generally focus on specific learning models that best addresses learning styles of African American students. The HBCUs are very much focused on educational models and behaviors that help to make African American students successful.

Over the years, the educational opportunity to attend the tour has been extended to young people throughout Southern California and beyond. Students of all cultures and ethnicities, as well as other cities and states, are welcome to attend the tour. Chaperones again this year were Joseph and Bobbie Richards (Assistant Superintendent and VUSD Counselor respectively), Gina Reeves (supervisor in the District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles), Kevin Goolsby (Outreach Coordinator for RWLC) and Dr. Irene Pinkard, CEO of PIE. Twenty-one students attended the tour from the Tri-Counties, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties this year.

The students have a talent show the last night of the tour. Each student participates and is encouraged to showcase a talent of their choice. Many of the students choose to express themselves in poems as their talent. It was an awesome evening! You can view our weeklong tour activities by ‘Liking’ us on Facebook at Black College Tours by PIE.

Next year’s tour will take place in the states of Texas and Louisiana.  If you are interested in sending or sponsoring a family member, please call us at (805) 988-2426 or contact us at

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