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Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. Most of these institutions were founded in the years after the American Civil War and are concentrated in the Southern United States. During the period of segregation in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Act, the overwhelming majority of higher education institutions were predominantly white and completely disqualified or limited African-American enrollment. For a century after the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, most colleges and universities in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending, while institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of blacks.
There are 101 HBCUs in the United States, including both public and private institutions (of 121 institutions that existed during the 1930s). Of these remaining HBCU institutions in the United States, 27 offer doctoral programs, 52 offer master's programs, 83 offer bachelor's degree programs, and 38 offer associate degrees.
Most HBCUs were established in the South after the American Civil War, often with the assistance of religious missionary organizations based in the northern United States. HBCUs established prior to the American Civil War include Cheyney University of Pennsylvania in 1837 and Lincoln University in 1854. Wilberforce University was also established prior to the American Civil War; it was founded in 1856 via a collaboration between the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Ohio and the Methodist Episcopal Church (the latter a predominantly white denomination). Wilberforce was the third college to be established in the state of Ohio.
Exactly three months after the end of the Civil War, Atlanta University - now Clark Atlanta University - was founded on September 19, 1865, as the first HBCU in the Southern United States. Atlanta University was the nation's first graduate institution to award degrees to African Americans in the nation and the first to award bachelors degrees to African Americans in the South; Clark College (1869) was the nation's first four-year liberal arts college to serve African-American students. The two consolidated in 1988 to form Clark Atlanta University.Shaw University, founded December 1, 1865, was the second HBCU to be established in the South. The year 1865 also saw the foundation of Storer College (1865-1955) in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Storer's former campus and buildings have since been incorporated into Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
In 1862, the federal government's Morrill Act provided for land grant colleges in each state. Some educational institutions established under the Morrill Act in the North and West were open to blacks. But 17 states, mostly in the South, required their systems to be segregated and generally excluded black students from their land grant colleges. In response, Congress passed the second Morrill Act of 1890, also known as the Agricultural College Act of 1890, requiring states to establish a separate land grant college for blacks if blacks were being excluded from the existing land grant college. Many of the HBCUs were founded by states to satisfy the Second Morrill Act. These land grant schools continue to receive annual federal funding for their research, extension, and outreach activities.
In the 1920s and 1930s, historically Black colleges developed a strong interest in athletics. Sports were expanding rapidly at state universities, but very few black stars were recruited there. Race newspapers hailed athletic success as a demonstration of racial progress. Black schools hired coaches, recruited and featured stellar athletes, and set up their own leagues.
In the 1930s, many Jewish intellectuals fleeing Europe after the rise of Hitler and anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany following Hitler's elevation to power emigrated to the United States and found work teaching in historically black colleges. In particular, 1933 was a challenging year for many Jewish academics who tried to escape increasingly oppressive Nazi policies, particularly after legislation was passed stripping them of their positions at universities. Jews looking outside of Germany could not find work in other European countries because of calamities like the Spanish Civil War and general antisemitism in Europe. In the US, they hoped to continue their academic careers, but barring a scant few, found little acceptance in elite institutions in Depression-era America, which also had their own undercurrent of antisemitism.
As a result of these phenomena, more than two-thirds of the faculty hired at many HBCUs from 1933 to 1945 had come to the United States to escape from Nazi Germany. HBCUs believed the Jewish professors were valuable faculty that would help strengthen their institutions' credibility.HBCUs had a firm belief in diversity and giving opportunity no matter the race, religion, or country of origin. HBCUs were open to Jews because of their ideas of equal learning spaces. They sought to create an environment where all people felt welcome to study, including women.
After the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, the legislature of Florida, with support from various counties, started a series of eleven junior colleges serving the African-American population. The purpose was to show that separate but equal education was working in Florida. Prior to this, there had been only one junior college in Florida serving African Americans, Booker T. Washington Junior College, in Pensacola. The new ones, with their year of founding, are
The new junior colleges began as extensions of black high schools; they used the same facilities and often the same faculty. Some built their own buildings after a few years. After passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandating an end to school segregation, the colleges were all abruptly closed. Only a fraction of the students and faculty were able to transfer to the previously all-white junior colleges, where they found, at best, an indifferent reception.
A reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 established a program for direct federal grants to HBCUs, to support their academic, financial, and administrative capabilities. Part B specifically provides for formula-based grants, calculated based on each institution's Pell grant eligible enrollment, graduation rate, and percentage of graduates who continue post baccalaureate education in fields where African Americans are underrepresented. Some colleges with a predominantly black student body are not classified as HBCUs because they were founded (or opened their doors to African Americans) after the implementation of the Sweatt v. Painter (1950) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954) rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court (the court decisions which outlawed racial segregation of public education facilities) and the Higher Education Act of 1965.
In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed an executive order to distribute adequate resources and funds to strengthen the nation's public and private HBCUs. His executive order created the White House Initiative on historically black colleges and universities (WHIHBCU), which is a federally funded program that operates within the U.S. Department of Education. In 1989, George H. W. Bush continued Carter's pioneering spirit by signing Executive Order 12677, which created the presidential advisory board on HBCUs, to counsel the government and the secretary on the future development of these organizations.
Starting in 2001, directors of libraries of several HBCUs began discussions about ways to pool their resources and work collaboratively. In 2003, this partnership was formalized as the HBCU Library Alliance, "a consortium that supports the collaboration of information professionals dedicated to providing an array of resources designed to strengthen historically black colleges and Universities and their constituents."
In 2015, the Bipartisan Congressional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus was established by U.S. Representatives Alma S. Adams and Bradley Byrne. The caucus advocates for HBCUs on Capitol Hill. As of September 2019, there are 94 elected politicians as members of the caucus.
Every year, the U.S. Department of Education deems one week in the fall as "National HBCU Week". During this week, several conferences and events are held in Washington, D.C. discussing and celebrating HBCUs, as well as recognize select scholars and alumni from the HBCU community.
In 2015, the share of black students attending HBCUs had dropped to 9% of the total number of black students enrolled in degree-granting institutions nationwide. This figure is a decline from the 13% of black students that enrolled in an HBCU in the year 2000 and the 17% that enrolled in 1980. This is a result of desegregation, rising incomes and increased access to financial aid, which has created more college options for black students.
The percentages of bachelor's and master's degrees awarded to black students by HBCUs has decreased over time. HBCUs awarded 35% of the bachelor's degrees and 21% of the master's degrees earned by blacks in 1976-77, compared with the 14% and 6% respectively of bachelor's and master's degrees earned by blacks in 2014-15. Additionally, the percentage of black doctoral degree recipients who received their degrees from HBCUs was lower in 2014-15 (12%) than in 1976-77 (14%).
The number of total students enrolled at an HBCU rose by 32% between 1976 and 2015, from 223,000 to 293,000. In comparison, total enrollment in degree-granting institutions nationwide increased by 81%, from 11 million to 20 million, during the same period.
Although HBCUs were originally founded to educate black students, their diversity has increased over time. In 2015, students who were either white, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, or Native American made up 22% of total enrollment at HBCUs, compared with 15% in 1976.
In 2007, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund published a study of minority recruiting practices by Fortune 400 companies and by government agencies that found that 13% of minority college graduates were recruited from HBCUs while 87% of minority college students were recruited from non-HBCU institutions.
Because many HBCUs have made a concerted effort to maintain enrollment levels and because they often offer relatively affordable tuition, the percentage of non-African-American enrollment has risen. The following table highlights HBCUs with high non-African American enrollments:
Racial diversity at HBCUs, 2016-2017 school year
Additionally, more historically black colleges and universities are offering online education programs. As of November 23, 2010, nineteen historically black colleges and universities offer online degree programs. The growth in these programs is driven by partnerships with online educational entrepreneurs like Ezell Brown.
Government funding has increased in recent years, with the Obama administration setting a six-year record in 2016 by expanding support to HBCUs by $17 million under the Higher Education Act. According to U.S. Department of Education records, the Trump administration has provided the most funding to historically black colleges and universities in the nation's history for both undergraduate and graduate studies, with in excess of US$360 million recorded in 2018.
HBCU Buzz is a news platform of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Its coverage focuses on telling the stories of HBCU community across the US, highlighting achievements of the blacks and Black millennial visionaries. Established in 2011, HBCU Buzz serves as a resource tool for prospective students and alumni of HBCU. HBCU Buzz organizes annual HBCU Top 30 Under 30, to recognize the achievements of alumni of HBCU in various fields of endeavors such as politics, public service, technology, entertainment, entrepreneurship, fashion, health, education and money.
^Marybeth Gasman, The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Philadelphia, PA: Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, University of Pennsylvania, 2013.[ISBN missing]
^ abCasey Boland, Marybeth Gasman et al, Contemporary Public HBCUs: A Four State Comparison, Philadelphia, PA: Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2014.[ISBN missing]
^Marybeth Gasman, has Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).[ISBN missing]
^Miller, Patrick B. (1995). "To "Bring the Race along Rapidly": Sport, Student Culture, and Educational Mission at Historically Black Colleges during the Interwar Years". History of Education Quarterly. 35 (2): 111-33. doi:10.2307/369629. ISSN0018-2680. JSTOR369629.
^Miller, Patrick B; Wiggins, David Kenneth, eds. (2004). Sport and the color line: black athletes and race relations in twentieth-century America. Routledge. ISBN978-0415946100. OCLC53155353.
^Marybeth Gasman, "Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating the Waters of Academic Freedom at Fisk University during Charles S. Johnson's Administration (1946-1956)," American Educational Research Journal 36, no. 4 (1999): 739-58.
^Philo Hutcheson, Marybeth Gasman, and Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, "Race and Equality in the Academy: Rethinking Higher Education Actors and the Struggle for Equality in the Post-World War II Period," Journal of Higher Education 82, no. 2 (2011): 121-53
^Smith, Walter L. (1994), The Magnificent Twelve: Florida's Black Junior Colleges, Winter Park, Florida: FOUR-G Publishers, ISBN1885066015
^The Act, as amended, defines a "part B institution" as: "...any historically black college or university that was established before 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation." U.S Department of Education (January 15, 2008). "HBCUs: A National Resource". White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008. 20 U.S.C. § 1061.
^Robert Nathenson, Andrés Castro Samayoa, & Marybeth Gasman, Moving Upward & Onward: Income Mobility and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, 2019.[ISBN missing]
^William Casey Boland, Marybeth Gasman, Andrés Castro Samayoa, and DeShaun Bennett, "The Effect of Enrolling in Minority Serving Institutions on Earnings Compared to Non-Minority Serving Institutions: A College Scorecard Analysis," Research in Higher Education (2019).
^Robert Palmer, Robert Shorette, and Marybeth Gasman (Eds.), Exploring Diversity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Implications for Policy and Practice, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014).[ISBN missing]
^Marybeth Gasman and Felecia Commodore (Eds.), Opportunities and Challenges at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (New York: Palgrave Press, 2014).[ISBN missing]
Favors, Jelani M. (2019). Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Gasman, Marybeth; Tudico, Christopher L., eds. (2008). Historically Black colleges and universities : triumphs, troubles, and taboos (1st ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN978-0230602731.
Lovett, Bobby L. (2015). America's historically Black colleges & universities: a narrative history from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first century (First ed.). Mercer University Press. ISBN978-0881465341.
Minor, James T. (2008). "A Contemporary Perspective on the Role of Public HBCUs: Perspicacity from Mississippi". The Journal of Negro Education. 77 (4): 323-35. ISSN0022-2984. JSTOR25608702.
Palmer, Robert T.; Hilton, Adriel A.; Fountaine, Tiffany P., eds. (2012). Black graduate education at historically Black colleges and universities trends, experiences, and outcomes. Information Age Pub. ISBN978-1617358524.
Roebuck, Julian B.; Murty, Komanduri Srinivasa (1993). [978-0275942670 Historically black colleges and universities : their place in American higher education] Check |url= value (help). Praeger. ISBN0275942678.
Wright, Stephanie R. (2008). "Self-Determination, Politics, and Gender on Georgia's Black College Campuses, 1875-1900". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 92 (1): 93-119. ISSN0016-8297. JSTOR40585040.