America is often seen as a melting pot of different races, cultures and ethnic groups, but its past wasn't always as open to diversity as it could have been. Because of this, several colleges and universities were created to provide education to black students who were not allowed to attend non-black schools because of racial segregation. Those schools thrived because black students understood how precious getting an education was and understood that the only way they would see change in their lifetime was if they made sure more opportunities were available to them. The Civil War had a great impact on the lives of everyone involved, especially the black population, so it should be no surprise that most of the black universities and colleges on this list were created around the time of that war.
Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla (FAMU) is ranked number 10 on the list of top black universities and colleges is, according to U.S. News: College Compass, Best Colleges 2012. FAMU is located in Tallahassee, Florida and was founded in 1887. It is part of the State University System of Florida and there are currently almost 12,000 students enroll from over 70 countries. FAMU offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Under the FAMU umbrella are 13 schools and one institute.
Dillard University in New Orleans, La is ranked as number 9 of the best black universities and colleges. Dillard was founded in 1869 and is considered a liberal arts school. It has over 20 academic majors and has a little over 1,200 students. Dillard prides itself on keeping its student to faculty ratio low in order to provide its students with a much individualized attention as possible.
Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C. is number 8 on the list of top black universities and colleges. Claflin is a liberal arts school that was founded in 1869 by Methodist missionaries who wanted to give freed slaves a chance to receive an education. The school's charter required that Calflin be open to all students regardless of race, gender or class, so it is considered the first truly open university in South Carolina. Claflin has over 1,800 students.
Xavier University, New Orleans, La is ranked number 7 on the list. Xavier was originally a high school and was founded in 1915. The beginning of the university it is today was in 1925 when a four-year college was added to the high school. The school was founded by Catholic nuns and remains the only Black Catholic university in the United States. Xavier has over 3,000 students and required a heavy concentration on liberal arts for all its undergraduate students regardless their degree goals.
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala. is number 6 of the list of best black colleges and universities in the United States. Tuskegee was founded in 1881 by Dr. Booker T. Washington, but the idea for the university got its start because of a campaign promise by a black politician to a black businessman. Both men were former slaves. The school has almost 3,000 students and has a number of significant distinctions to its credit, including being the only college or university in the United States that Congress has designated as a national historic site.
Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn is number 5 on the list. Fisk was founded 1866, less than a year after the end of the Civil War. Its first class had only one requirement, a strong desire to learn. Because of this, this first class had a wide age range, from 7-years old to 70-years old. All the students were poor and former slaves. Fisk's founded wanted to create a university that was open to all to get the best education possible.
Hampton University, Hampton, Va. is number 4 on the list of best black universities and colleges. Although Hampton was founded in 1868, it began as a school for all grade levels in 1861 just after the beginning of the Civil War as a result of an influx of slaves who escaped to this area because of the promise of freedom. After enough former slaves had gathered to form their own community it was decided that they also needed to receive a formal education, so the their first class was held under an oak three that later became known as Emancipation Oak. Hampton has over 5,000 students.
Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga. is number 3 on the list of top black universities and colleges. It was founded in the basement of a Baptist church in 1867 and is the largest liberal arts college for men in America. Moorehouse has almost 3,000 students and offers almost 30 undergraduate degree programs. It is the first black college to produce a Rhodes Scholar.
Howard University, Washington, D.C. is number 2 on the list and was founded in 1867 just after the end of the Civil War. The initial idea for the school was that it should be a seminary to educate black clergymen, but that idea quickly evolved into a more wide reaching educational project. Howard has over 10,000 students and offers both undergraduate and graduate degree
Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga. is number 1 on the list of top black colleges and universities. It is a liberal arts college for women that was founded in 1881 in the basement of a Baptist church. Spelman has over 2,000 students and is considered one of the best undergraduate colleges in the United States.
- Before choosing a college or university, plan a visit to the campus first. Every school has a distinct atmosphere and the best way to determine if that atmosphere is right for the future applicant is to visit in person.
- Apply for financial aid as soon as possible, even if it may not be needed.
Sources and Citations
Top 25 Colleges for Black Students: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/a0771723.html