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Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy Posted on 07-29-2008
jlgainey06

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have greatly contributed to American History, because they were a place of higher education and learning for people of color during the times before, during, and after the civil war era, especially in the South. When whites turned Blacks away from learning at their schools, Blacks had to find a way to provide education and training for themselves, therefore creating their own educational institutions. Today those institutions not only become historical, educational landmarks, but have also shaped some of the most well-educated, prominent African Americans in the world. These black colleges and universities provided African American students a place of individuality, community, and legacy. From 1939-1945, the majority of Black students were enrolled in private colleges and Northern religious mission societies were in charge of founding and upholding Black colleges and universities. Due to the fact that there was almost no education at all in the South for Blacks, most of the institutions offered preliminary/introductory courses at both elementary and high school levels for their students. However, the aim of these early schools mirrored the ideals of conventional laissez-faire instruction that dominated American higher education with stress on ancient languages, natural sciences, and humanities. Blacks were trained especially for literacy, teaching and business. HBCUs are relevant today, because African American students not only earn a higher education but also gain a sense of identity and heritage, and have the opportunity to associate with others who are connected to the concerns of the Black community and would like to make a change. It is a most motivating and rewarding experience to be around others just as yourself who thrive for success. HBCUs are some of the most significant institutions in the African American community that give young African Americans a chance to expand their academic and societal skills in a place that is safe and suitable, while preparing themselves for the future. HBCUs are at times more affordable than most traditional American schools, which plays a huge role in choosing a school for many African American pupils. Also, most HBCUs are not as large at the other traditional universities and it allows Black students to receive more specialized, individual attention, which is a most important factor for serious Black students. The lessons we can learn from HBCUs are that we should cherish and embrace how and why the institutions were built, and carry on the legacy for generations to come. African American students, as well as others can learn to become inspired, dream big, and most importantly, proclaim their historically black institution as the purpose of their development and their character of sound academic training grounds for service to their country.
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