Everyone deserves a chance to out run the dark cloud of failure and succeed, a chance to obtain a proper education, a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. For many years, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (better known as HBCUs) have allowed these chances to come to fruition for many African American’s. HBCUs are enriched with history and legacies that have left their footprints for future scholars to follow.
There are over 100 HBCUs across the United States. Historically black colleges and universities are institutions that were established with the intention of serving the African American community. Not only have they provided students with a chance to attain degrees, but also provided students with the opportunity to establish a sense of their identity, heritage and belonging. Many of these institutions have evolved since being established after the American Civil War, when the primary purpose was to educate freed slaves to read and write. Courses were merely taught only at the elementary and high school levels. Prior to the dawn of the American Civil War, the first black colleges were established beginning in 1837. These colleges included, Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Wilberforce University. The first to be established after the American Civil War in the south was Shaw University in 1865.
Historically, HBCUs have graduated leaders, visionaries and trailblazers who created greater opportunities for others, including the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In addition, many prominent African Americans are HBCU graduates, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B Dubois, Wilma Rudolph, Thurgood Marshall and Spike Lee just to name a few. A world without HBCUs would be a world without these historical leaders. The contributions from these leaders stemmed far beyond classroom. Each has made some sort of impact on our society. They have created a large enough impact that has encouraged a new generation of leaders. They serve as motivational monuments of the battles and victories of African Americans.
The relevance and power of an HBCU education allows students to reach back as they move forward. These institutions are graduating over 50 percent of black professionals. Not only have historically black college and university graduates left with a great sense of pride for their school but they left with life long friendships, lasting relationships with professors and mentors, and the mental toughness to compete with anyone in the world.