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Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy Posted on 07-10-2008
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American HBCU’s or Historically Black Colleges or Universities served as a place where Blacks could have the same opportunities as whites at higher education. Most of them sprung up around the time shortly after the civil war when the 13th amendment was enacted and the slaves became legally free. With a surplus of uneducated free black people there was a need for institutions where that supplied them with the resources and tools to advance in the white mans world. In which they had been set back centuries. With all these great Black minds meeting at these centers for education there was bound to be a gathering of knowledge and many advancements in American culture as well as Black culture. HBCU’s contributed to American history because they were a sign of change to a country plagues with the thought of white racial superiority. Blacks now had a source of education, which they were denied during the entirety of the enslavement period. They had the opportunity to really indulge in the American dream and develop the sense of what the fore fathers meant by pursuit of happiness. HBCU’s also helped to change the mindset of the white man. Now that the race they had enslaved for over 200 years was learning and becoming smarter what would happen to them. Thus the idea of the fear of the educated black person was developed in the back of the minds of the majority and dominant white race. The relevance of HBCU’s today have all but lost their relevance if anything they are more important now than ever to a generation of young blacks who don’t have a sense of their heritage. Speaking as one of those youths I did not really have a sense of what my people were all about and the true understanding of Black pride. At most HBCU’s it is a requirement to take some assortment of classes dealing with African heritage and culture for at least a year. They also serve as a land mark that represents the impact that we as a people have left on America. Perhaps one of the most relevant uses of an HBCU today is the ability for them to attract great black minds to come together and interact and focus on the goal of furthering the Black race. HBCU’s or Historically Black Colleges or Universities can be used as a learning tool not jus literally but figuratively as well. If you take a step back and take the time to understand the significance of an HBCU you will notice the ability of a race to overcome. No matter how divided we become as a race if there is something that we can find guidance in is that we as a people came together and built these institutions to supply a need that surfaced. The literal learning that takes place would undoubtedly involve the enlightenment of a young black race and to instill in them the same qualities that our proud black leaders of past possessed.
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