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Janea Johnson Entry: Posted on 05-26-2008

Since Cheney University in Pennsylvania, the first Historically Black College, had its inception in 1837 HBCU’s have been at the forefront of nurturing budding African American intellectuals. Historically Black Colleges and Universities possess an inimitable awareness of the specific needs culturally and educationally that young African American’s have. In the 21st century, HBCU’s continue to be on the cutting edge of specialized education for African American scholars by expanding their education to have a global perspective, while still being grounded in exploring the African American experience and giving back to the community. HBCU’s have demonstrated a dual commitment to a global perspective and the African American experience in many ways. One example of dedication to local African-American communities is the community service graduation requirement of most HBCU’s, which encourages students improve the conditions of the neighborhoods surrounding them. Expanding the commitment to the global community, schools like Spelman and Morehouse College have instituted required Caribbean History and African Diaspora courses to familiarize students with people of color around the world. They have introduced alternative spring breaks to volunteer in places like: Dominican Republic, Haiti and Martinique. HBCU’s have intensified study abroad programs and cultural immersion events to expose students to a rapidly globalizing culture and economy. HBCU’s continue to have unparalleled diversity within campus faculty, making for a comfortable and encouraging environment for African American students. The contributions to history of Historically Black College and Universities in America are too numerous to list, but a very important man named George Washington Carver, who was supported by an HBCU, formulated some of the most preeminent, revolutionary ideas of any scientist to date. His work on alternative bio-fuels to petroleum preceded any other scientist. The research done by Carver with Henry Ford on bio-fuels for automobiles stretches back over 60 years. He developed and successfully ran a Ford car with soy bean oil in the 1930’s. Only now, with gas prices on the rise and oil shortages, is the world beginning to truly appreciate George Washington Carver’s genius. George Washington Carver was a brilliant mind, but his research could not have realized its full potential without the funding and support of the HBCU Tuskegee University, where he got his deepest and most lucrative support. The work done by Carver at Tuskegee University on alternative bio fuels, among other things, is being studied by scientists today all over the world. Today, Tuskegee University boasts one of the nations most advanced and successful botany programs. It continues to make immeasurable scientific contributions to The United States by supporting African American minds in an environment tailor made for their success. Tuskegee is just one great example of many, demonstrating the impact HBCU’s have on the African American’s and America as a whole. Three-quarters of all African American PhD's recipients graduated from HBCU’s. Not only are HBCU’s extremely relevant today, they are jewels to be protected and respected. Historically Black Colleges produce dreamers, thinkers, builders and most importantly, leaders that will continue to change the world.
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Home > Forums > Interest Groups > HBCU Specific Topics & Concerns > Scholarship Opportunities > Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy
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