While Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been around for a very long time, they are often misunderstood. Here's a quick primer and introduction to HBCUs.
HBCUs were originally created to educate black students when they were unable to be educated elsewhere.
HBCUs are open to educate all students, and were formalized in 1965 with the the The Higher Education Act of 1965. This defined HBCUs as institutions that were established prior to 1964, whose principal mission is to educate Black Americans, and are fully accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
What is college life like at an HBCU?
This student perspective provides a very thorough overview of one student's experience.
In Perspective: HBCUs in American History
Literacy in America was originally encouraged in the 1700s as a tool for religious conversion. During southern American Slavery, however, enslaved persons were restricted from education for various reasons: fear of communication, reading abolitionist materials, or forging freedom pages.
Strict education prohibition was introduced in 1836 in the South, with reading and writing becoming illegal for enslaved people. High fines were instituted for those caught educating enslaved people.
There is much to learn about HBCUs, which future articles will cover. For now, check out this informative TEDx talk about HBCUs:
Have your students attended HBCUs? What has their experience been?