Historically black universities are schools that were created to educate black people. These schools are commonly known as HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Before the Civil War is was considered a crime to educate black people, so many of these schools with long histories began around the time of that war. Some began during the war and others were established just after that war ended. Some of these schools held their first classes outside or in the basements of churches because they either did not have the funds to build a school in the beginning or because it was too dangerous to risk generating too much attention to the fact that blacks were going to be given the opportunity to receive a formal education in America. Prejudice against racial and class differences ran so deep in America during that time that it was often dangerous to openly disagree with the status quo.
Historically black universities also need to have been founded before 1964 to be included in the list of HBCUs because of the US Supreme Court rulings the Higher Education Act of 1965, which outlawed racial segregation. Because of this, predominantly black schools that were founded after 1964 cannot be considered historically black universities even though they may have a greater percentage of black students than some schools that are considered HBCUs. This is a case where the history of the school is very important. Although racial segregation was outlawed and new schools cannot legally racially segregate their students, it is important to recognize what these schools had contributed and are still contributing to society by recognizing their place in American history.
There are over 100 historically black universities in the United States and it should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with American history that most of them are based in the southeastern part of the United States. Although times were often hard for all people of color during the time these schools were founded, things were especially bad for black people and other people of color in southern states. Because of this, the need for a means to provide a formal education for black people in the South was acute.
Currently, there are 105 historically black universities in America and North Carolina has the most at 11. Second is Alabama with 9, followed by South Carolina and Georgia with 8 each. Texas and Mississippi have 7 historically black universities each. Of these HBCUs, 83 offer undergraduate bachelor's degrees and 38 also offer two-year associates degrees. Doctoral programs are offered by 27 of these historically black universities and 52 offer master's degrees.
Although the history of HBCUs is very important to each school, these schools also actively recruit non-black students because increasing racial and ethnic diversity benefits the students and the schools.
Tips and comments
- If you are not black, do not allow this to keep you from considering attending historically black universities because many of these schools have always educated anyone who was interested, even before the US Supreme Court ruling that outlawed racial segregation.