HBCU Experience Book Highlights Range of Black College Life

HBCU Experience Book Editors stand Congressman Elijah Cummings holding up a copy of the book.
Book editors Tia C. M. Tyree, Ph.D (left) and Christopher D. Cathcart (right) pose with Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (center).

HBCU Experience – The Book: A Collection of Essays Celebrating the Black Experience is a compilation of a first-account essays that chronicles undergraduate realities at HBCUs across the nation, from student activism and leadership to mentoring and role models to dating and relationships to the fun and importance of fraternities and sororities and much more. It celebrates the legacy and experiences of those who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Black college alumni Christopher D. Cathcart (Howard University) and Dr.Tia C.M. Tyree (Morgan State University, Howard University) joined forces to co-edit the book. Their goal for this project is to highlight the history, significance, and impact of the HBCUs.

HBCU Experience – The Book CoverCongressman Elijah E. Cummings wrote the book's foreword. Cummings is also a graduate of Howard University and long-time advocate of HBCUs. The introduction was written by journalist and mobile media professor Allissa Richardson, a 2002 graduate of Xavier University and 2013 Apple, Inc. Distinguished Educator.

“More than a hundred and fifty years after the establishment of the first HBCU, it is as necessary then as it is now to have historically black colleges and universities as a part of our higher education options,” say Tyree.

“While it would be easy for us to show statistics, this book gives you a glimpse of what the impact of HBCUs is from the very individuals who walked through their halls. There is no better way to understand the HBCU experience than from those who lived it.”

Adds Cathcart: “This has truly been a labor of love. The opportunity to connect with so many loyal, proud HBCU grads from different eras and schools was rewarding in many ways, and not just relative to the book itself. It underscored our belief that there's a passionate, engaged support-base out there for our Black colleges; there are many people who feel like we do and want to work to preserve our institutions.”

HBCU Experience provides first-hand accounts of attending an HBCU by those who successfully finished the journey or came very close to graduating. Over 60 stories are included from individuals of all nationalities, genders, races, ages, geographic locations, and other defining characteristics. Apart from their detailed unique, undergraduate experiences, each story emphasizes the vital role these institutions still have in our society. It highlights the importance of these institutions and accentuates the benefits of having an HBCU education.

According to the editors, reading the pages will give you a glimpse into the Black College lifestyle. If you are a high school student, it could help you make an informed choice between attending a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) or an HBCU, or it could help a graduate walk down the memory lane. Or maybe, it could help someone better understand HBCUs. And if nothing else, it could just simply entertain.

Overall, this collection is a kaleidoscope of experiences worth reading and sharing. HBCU Experience – The Book is available now at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com, or through local bookstore order desks; additional information about the book and the editors is available at www.BlackCollegeBook.com. Tyree and Cathcart will announce plans for a book-signing tour soon and are available for personal appearances to discuss the book and other issues related to HBCUs.

About Dr. Tia C. M. Tyree

Dr. Tia C. M. Tyree is the Assistant Chair and Associate Professor at Howard University within the Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communications. She teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses. Her research interests include African-American and female representations in the mass media, hip hop, rap, reality television, film and social media. She has published articles in several journals, including Women and Language, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, Howard Journal of Communications, and Journal of Black Studies.

She is also co-editor of Social Media: Pedagogy and Practice and author of The Interesting and Incredibly Long History of American Public Relations. Prior to joining the academy, she worked for more than 12 years as a public relations professional for government, entertainment, and for-profit entities.

About Christopher D. Cathcart

Christopher Darren Cathcart is a published author; public relations, marketing/brand development expert, and an acclaimed public speaker. In 1995, Cathcart founded OneDiaspora Group, a Los Angeles and Washington, DC-based PR/communications consulting firm. He has more than 27 years of public relations experience, having been an executive at such companies as CNN, Motown Records, and Warner Bros. Television, among others.

His first book, The Lost Art of Giving Back, a how-to guide to volunteerism, was published in 2007. Cathcart also founded Ledge magazine, the nation's first and only HIV/AIDS online publication by and for Black college students. He is a graduate of Howard University (Bachelor of Arts/Communications).

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