Though no devices were found at the schools threatened last week, “people of color don’t have that privilege to think it’s not real,” said Lance Wheeler, director of exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

From her office in Birmingham, Alabama, DeJuana Thompson looks across the street and sees a daily reminder of terror. Her window overlooks the 16th Street Baptist Church, where a bomb in 1963 killed four young Black girls, AP reports.

“Living in the era of bomb threats is not new to people of color,” said Thompson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Nearly six decades after that bombing by the Ku Klux Klan, the FBI is now investigating last week’s bomb threats against at least 17 historically Black colleges and universities across the U.S. Thompson said the threats underscore the need to teach new generations the history of violence targeting people of color so the lessons of the past can be applied to the present.

The FBI said the hate crimes probe involves more than 20 field offices and “is of the highest priority.” Investigators have identified at least five “persons of interest,” a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

In one of the cases, a caller claiming to be affiliated with the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division described a plot at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida involving seven bombs hidden in bags, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said.
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