It’s become a perennial argument in academic circles: Are historically black colleges and universities still needed in a so-called post-racial America? Critics argue that culturally informed schools are not only passe in the era of biracial President Barack Obama, but that they perpetuate racism by segregating black students. They often point to the many strides predominantly white schools around the country have made in boosting diversity, as well as a few highly publicized troubles at select HBCUs. Black college alumni and supporters, meanwhile, point to a bevy of benefits from attending HBCUs, including better academic performance when surrounded by students who share a student’s background.
Where do you come down on this issue? Before you make your decision, take a look at our top reasons why we still need HBCUs!
No. 5: Because more black American students are going to college – and they deserve the best
According to the United States Census, there were 2.9 million blacks enrolled in college in 2010. That’s nearly double the figure in 1990 and there’s no sign that trend will reverse. College is widely considered a place where adults have some of their most formative experiences – shouldn’t the nation’s future black leaders have those experiences in a setting that affirms their cultural identity and experience? The fact is, while predominantly white schools have taken awesome steps toward welcoming black students, there’s still nothing like the impact that learning alongside students of color, from established black professionals, can have on a young black student’s self-esteem.
No. 4: Because black history still matters
Bethune-Cookman University. Morehouse College. Johnson C. Smith University – all are known not only for producing amazing leaders, but because they’ve been a part of the black-American experience for more than a century. Clustered largely in the South, the nation’s HBCUs were founded at a time when most white universities remained closed to minorities. HBCUs have shaped generations of black students, providing unique campus traditions and family-like environments. Add to that a curriculum that takes the social and historical concerns of black Americans into account. Simply put, HBCUs are not just teaching history – they MAKE history everyday.
No. 3: Because the black college experience is second to none
Whether it’s enjoying the precision step performances of the Divine Nine, spending time on the yard or being blown away during a battle of the bands, HBCU life is full of unforgettable social experiences. Sure, college is all about learning. But let’s face it, students want to have fun! With unique traditions and a special groove all their own, HBCUs have the college experience down pat! It’s why years and even decades after they leave, so many black college alumni still sport college sweaters, key chains, buttons, bumper stickers and other HBCU-related apparel. The HBCU experience is one that you won’t soon forget!
No. 2: Because HBCUs strengthen families
There’s an extra-special bond between parents and children who share the HBCU experience. It’s rooted in a student’s sense of walking the same pathways and sitting in the same lecture halls that their father and even their father’s father may have occupied so many years before. Not to mention, college is where so many couples meet! We can think of countless sweethearts who trace their beginnings to the yard at Howard University or a football game at Virginia State University. Later, they send their children to an HBCU too. It’s like a wonderful cycle – now who wouldn’t agree?
and the No. 1 reason why HBCUs are still needed:
Because the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream has still not been completely realized
Obama may have been the first black president in the White House, but black America is still hobbled by high levels of unemployment, broken families and other social challenges. It’s vital that we use the important resource of our HBCUs to build leaders, strengthen the community and realize Dr. King’s dream of equality.
Want to learn more about HBCUs? Visit the United Negro College Fund to start. You’ll soon see that HBCUs are relevant today and will be for a long time to come.
*Photos courtesy of Bowie State University, The Washington Post and The United Negro College Fund
“No. 3: Because the black college experience is second to none”
HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS? I AM IN A HBCU NOW AND I KNOW WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE I AM HAVING…YEA NOT GOOD. YOUR WRITING THIS ARTICLE WITH A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE ABOUT COLLEGES, NOT HBCU’S NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE MAKES ANY SENSE TO ME. YOU AND YOUR DAMN HBCU!
HBCU NEED TO WELCOME THE OTHER RACES INTO THEIR SCHOOL IN ORDER TO LEARN FROM THEM AND MAYBE EVEN MEET SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF THEIR RACE…LIKE WTF MAN.
I HATE THE CONCEPT OF HBCU’S
WASTE OF MONEY AND SPACE.
AMERICA IS EQUAL AND HBCU’S CAUSE THE DIVIDE IN YOUNG MINDS. WHITE VS. BLACK.
You response makes no sense either. Whites have always been welcome at HBCU’s, many just chose not to. Have you not forgot that it used to be the other way around and we were once unwelcome at PWI’s? “AMERICA IS EQUAL AND HBCU’S CAUSE THE DIVIDE IN YOUNG MINDS. WHITE VS. BLACK.” In response to that particular sentence, I’ll say this. You seem to have some sort of self-hatred towards blacks. How can you say that HBCU’s cause the divide for Whites vs. Blacks when they were created in a time where we were not wanted? I also want to challenge your way of thinking. If HBCU’s aren’t relevant, what makes PWI’s relevant? They’re doing the same exact thing we’re doing but for their race. Whatever issues you have with your HBCU, fight to improve them, or transfer. When you’ll transfer however, I hope you’re ready for an environment where you’ll likely be the only person of color in your class, an environment where Black people don’t matter as much, and an environment where you’re not the priority. Stop practicing hatred towards yourself. You’re young, gifted and black.
The point of an HBCU is for students, not only black, to take a deeper look into Black history. Many times when students attend college the historical memory of the black race is often slim to none or non-existent (except for the occasional “African American History Class” that PWI’s offer). However, there has also been a deterrent causing black students not want to go to college. The idea of an HBCU is to show students that hey if this guy (black) did it so can you. It gives them a sense of security that they can walk beside their fellow brothers and sisters and not be judged by the color of their skin. You may call it sheltering and/or hiding from the outside world but education is education no matter how its attained. If this is what it takes for black students to
want to learn then so be it let them learn. HBCU’s were created in order for black students to walk a path that other prominent black leaders walked and to give them hope that they too can continue on. It’s not about the actual institution but more so the intent of what the institution is trying to create. Please think about every angle of the argument before you try to say that HBCU’s were either created to divide or keep Whites from their school. That is no where near the point. Do you think that a race that was once kept out of schools would want to return that sort of favor in any way? your argument is invalid and irrelevant to say the least. You are speaking from the point of view of an angry student who does not understand why his/her college is run the way that it is. Try to find out more about your campus or institution before you go off in a tangent about it. IT IS BETTER TO BE A HUMAN BEING DISSATISFIED THAN A PIG SATISFIED. BETTER TO BE SOCRATES DISSATISFIED THAN A FOOL SATISFIED. AND IF THE FOOL, OR THE PIG ARE OF DIFFERENT OPINION, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ONLY KNOW THEIR OWN SIDE OF THE QUESTION – John Stuart Mill
I think the end of this quote is very relevant to your response….. but its also my favorite quote, just thought i should share it with you Sam
It’s a real plresuae to find someone who can think like that
It’s not about race. The other races don’t welcome either of us. We just show up, as if we’re welcome. However other races firmly let us know that we are not equal. Stop being who other races has influenced you to become. Do not adapt!!! Let’s not be the only culture who hasn’t become self sufficient!!!!!!! All of the others has. We include ourselves in others affairs not accepting responsibility, for our own actions. HBCUs are as great or greater than white cultural enhancements like colleges & Universities. Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Canadians, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, also the others. Point is other races doesn’t like, need, want, nor support you or your counterparts! Support self sufficiency in the culture of colored people. Don’t be burden to your neighbors! Grow, develop and exercise self sufficiency in the culture of colored people. “Other races are as welcome amongst us as they are in their own domain”. We aren’t welcome in theirs at all. Don’t just achieve your life goal or fantasy to be liked, among others. Build a home, for yourselves, stop being a follower. HBCUs creates black leaders. Sam go complain that complaint on the other races door step. You remind us of the spy who confessed and away, from the NAACP. She was praised, by idiots! America (USA) Isn’t equal Sam! We Americans should be treated and accepted as equals amongst ourselves, yet we all know we are not. Don’t support racism nor hate. Announce independence and unity in our homes, family and growth. Say no to guns, drugs and violence. Don’t support self hate.