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Essay Posted on 07-31-2008

Raleigh, NC
1. How have HBCUs contributed to American history? When I think of American History and HBCUs I am immediately reminded of Mary Mcleod Bethune. My brother, my best friends and I gained our knowledge of her during my mother’s tenure as President of the National Council of Negro Women-Henrico Section. We learned everything there was to learn about Mary Mcleod Bethune. We had to read and discuss how her “My Last Will and Testament” her legacy affects us, what it meant yesterday and what it means today. That is when I learned that although my education was my responsibility, I was obligated to pursue my education. HBCUs are testament to the statement “If you believe you will achieve, if you achieve you will succeed”. How can one enter the halls of any HBCU for the first time and not immediately be overwhelmed with the aura of its history? HBCUs provided us with a venue to obtain the once unattainable for our race – education. It is the achievements and knowledge gained within the walls of these HBCUs has produced many prominent African Americans. These African Americans have become productive parts of society. Their achievements are from artist to zoologist. I believe the growth of one individual is a significant part of the growth of the African American race as a whole. This growth however is not exclusive to the African American race; as we grow, America grows. We must remember that without African American history there is no American History. 2. Why are HBCUs relevant today? What lessons can we learn? Due to the tenacity and perseverance of Mary Mcleod Bethune and others like her, we, the youth of today have a foundation on which to build our future. We may not realize it, but if it were not for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, there is a distinct possibility that there would be no essay for me to write because there would be no scholarship available. It is important that we understand that these educational institutions are very much needed in order to continue and promote the individual as well as the collective. Today’s youth can learn and develop the same determination to succeed, as the builders and dreamers that started the school which they attend. The lessons learned are varied and valuable, from mere survival as a student to succeeding as an adult. Additionally, they provide students with a sense of self pride and self empowerment. The most important lesson I believe that can be gained from attending a HBCU is that we are in control of our destiny. The hard work we put in cannot compare to the hard work of those before us, therefore who are we to complain or not take advantage of the education opportunity HBCUs offer us? The HBCUs to me epitomize the phrase “Each One, Teach One”.
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Home > Forums > Interest Groups > HBCU Specific Topics & Concerns > Scholarship Opportunities > Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy
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