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Forrest Greene Posted on 08-02-2008

The contributions that Historically Black College and Universities have made to American history are profound. Historically Black College and Universities were founded to give blacks a chance at higher education. African Americans were able to pursue higher education and to fulfill their dreams as they attended the many HBCUs. There are many outstanding graduates who have come from HBCUs and have made great contributions to American history. Their achievements are seen in a range of services. These individuals include Booker T. Washington, who graduated from Hampton University. He tried to alleviate the racial turmoil between races. After graduating from Hampton, Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute which is now one of the prominent HBCUs. Toni Morrison graduated from Howard University. She won the Pulitzer Prize, one of the most coveted writing awards. With the works she has published not only is she an influential African American but one of the best and most respected American writers. Another graduate from Howard, Zora Neal Hurston, wrote the well known novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Howard University graduate Ralph Bunch won the Nobel Prize and now UCLA has named their African American Studies center after him. There students of all races come from across the country to study African Americans and their history. Kenneth Clark also graduated from Howard University. He became a renowned psychologist. He is well known, with his wife, who also graduated from Howard University, for conducting the famous black and white doll studies. Their research was used in the 1955 US Supreme Court decision which ruled that segregation leads to separate and unequal education and consequently the desegregation of American schools Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, graduated from Morehouse College. Dr. King is known for his position during the civil rights movement and he fought and died for racial integration. He is arguably one of the most influential African Americans of all time and is studied widely throughout classrooms across the nation. It has been over 100 years since the first HBCU was founded and these institutions still have much relevance. Perhaps the most important reason for African Americans to attend an HBCU is that students can reflect on graduates from previous generations and strive to contribute to society like them. HBCUs are also relevant because HBCUs are a place where African Americans can come together to cultivate their skills and make a significant contribution to African American culture and American society. The lessons we can learn are lessons of hard work, diligence, patience, and respect. When we learn about and understand our great African American leaders and their journey as they graduated from these universities we can learn more about ourselves and our strengths and believe we too can do the same.
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Home > Forums > Interest Groups > HBCU Specific Topics & Concerns > Scholarship Opportunities > Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy
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