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Understanding HBCUs Posted on 08-01-2008
aureanikole

UNDERSTANDING HBCUs
Think for a moment what our world would be like without the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. or the courageousness of Rosa Parks. Where would our economy be without the computer advances of John Henry Thomas or the invention of the refrigerator by Fredrick McKinley Jones? The truth is people of African American decent have made a significant impact on our United States of America and such impacts wouldn’t have been possible without a strong, solid educational background. Historically Black Colleges were created for that reason, to mold and shape young black students into leaders of the future. Prior to the Civil War in the United States, there were only two historically black colleges in existence. They were Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Wilberforce University in Ohio. As time passed, Justin Morrill started the movement for the Morrill Land-Grant Act in the 1800s. It gave funding for institutions of higher learning, but at the start, few were made for blacks. After the second Morrill Land Grant Act in 1890, it was made mandatory that some of the institutions must be made to accommodate the black students as well. With that 16 more black institutions were opened and due to the Higher Education Act passed in 1968 funding from the government is still available for these schools today. The Higher Education Act was originally passed in 1968 providing the government with means of expanding education opportunities through grant and loan programs. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, scheduled for this year, may require additional qualifications for certain HBCUs to receive federal funding as a Historically Black College or University. Fifty percent of their students must be from a low income situation or a first generation college student, they must have no less than one-thousand students enrolled, and forty percent of the students must be of African-American decent. In other words, in order to stay afloat in our society HBCUs must keep attracting and graduating highly educated, determined, and focused African American students. With the growing support of these schools from the media and other prominent leaders, I don’t see that being a problem. The number of HBCUs in our country has grown to over 100 schools. With much thanks to these public and private institutions we call HBCUs, African Americans have gained prominent roles in government, politics, entertainment, sports, medicine, education, literature, and business, and are continuing to move upward. A few of the many faithful alumni include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, the famous Rosa Parks, and Sean Combs, popularly known recording artist, businessman, and producer. These are only a small percentage of the proud, successful graduates of these fine institutions and as a current student at Spelman College for Women; I have been able to enjoy and take advantage of the HBCU experience as well.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
"Historically black colleges and universities." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Jun 2008, 14:11 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 13 Jul 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Historically_black_colleges_and_universities&oldid=217311567>. Origination of the HBCU Concept. Online; 11 Jul, 2008 http://www.hbcunetwork.com/The_History_OL_HBCUs_Creation.cfm www.blackinventors.com Contact Info: Lauren Hill Email address: laurenh_359@yahoo.com
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