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"Living the HBCU Legacy" Scholarship Posted on 08-01-2008

Philadelphia, PA
Historically Black Colleges and Universities contribute not only to African American history but American history as well. Cheyney, Lincoln, and Wilberforce Universities were the only HBCU’s established before the reconstruction. This is because they are all located in the north. However once the start of the reconstruction, the number of HBCU’s began to multiply quickly. The establishment of HBCU’s began to make and change many laws in the U.S. Many colleges were created through government funds, called land grants, which stemmed from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. Theses land grants were contracted to many states to establish colleges, which have become some of the most popular state and private universities in the country. Institutions such as Penn State University, Cornell University and University of Florida were all started through land grants, however they were predominantly white institutions where blacks were rarely welcomed. This was a problem for Blacks seeking an education and lead to the establishment of the Second Morrill Act in 1890. The Second Morrill Act was formed mainly for the former confederate states. The Act required the States to either show that race was not a qualification to being admitted into the current state colleges, or to create a separate institution for people of color using the land grant act money. In the end the Second Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1890 helped produce 19 historically black colleges and universties and today there are more than 100 historically black colleges and universities. Hbcus are relevant today because they have so many successful alumni. Some of the biggest political figures that came from hbcus are Martin Luther King, Jessie Jackson and Thurgood Marshall. The most sucessful entertainment figures in the country and in the world come from HBCU’s. Oprah Winfrey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Keenan Ivory Wayans and sports figures like Athea Gibson, Walter Payton and Jerry Rice all went to hbcus. HBCU’s are relevant because they seem to know what is needed to be successful. There are so many lessons we can learn about HBCU’s contribution. Students get to have the “the black experience.” People who attend HBCU’s come all across the country with a plethora of religions, cultures and economic statuses so HBCU’s tend to be very diverse despite there racial statuses. Lots of students believe the HBCU’s experience is the last time they will be around so many Black people who are working towards the goal of achieving higher education before entrance to the workforce. In addition, HBCU’s are also relevant because at a time when the media portrays African Americans negatively, HBCU’s are still successfully leading the black youth to higher education. USA Today says of the countries 4,000 colleges, HBCU’s make up 3% of that, but produce more than 10% of blacks with undergraduate degrees each year. People from HBCU’s are also more likely to attend graduate/ professional schools than blacks that attend predominantly white institutions. This is just some of the lessons learn about the contribution of HBCU’s to American History.
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Home > Forums > Interest Groups > HBCU Specific Topics & Concerns > Scholarship Opportunities > Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy
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