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How Have HBCU’s Contributed to American History? Posted on 07-24-2008

Since 1837, Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) have played and continue to play a very important role in American History. Without HBCU Alumni like Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Booker T. Washington and Langston Hughes, where would African Americans, and America in general be? Some other influential people who have attended and graduated from HBCUs are: Sean “P. Diddy Combs” (Howard), Spike Lee (Morehouse), Oprah (Tennessee St.), and Rosa Parks, graduate of Alabama State. With all of that in consideration, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their graduates have contributed enormously to American History in the past, are creating legacies today, and will continue to shape America. The year is 1942 and George Washington Carver is experimenting with the peanut. He was at Tuskegee Institute as a teacher and researcher when he made many creations with the peanut, and also managed to turn soybeans into plastic and use cotton to create paving blocks. Lonnie G. Johnson, another Tuskegee Institute graduate, helped to engineer the “Super Soaker” water gun, one of the most successful water guns in the world. HBCU students have not only impacted American history, but also World history with some of their inventions. For example, Mark Dean (Tennessee State University) created the first one-gigahertz processor chip, which has lead to smaller and faster computers. HBCUs have had an impact on the careers of many prominent people in all aspects and areas of entertainment, education, government, sports, and business. Even though HBCUs are only 3% of all institutions for higher learning, they are responsible for 23% of all bachelor’s degrees and 75% of African American students. HBCUs continue to be responsible for about 85% of all black physicians, and almost half of the Congressional Black Caucus. Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State University) and Walter Payton (Jackson State) have both had record-breaking sports careers, but before they every played professional sports, they gained knowledge and discipline from their HBCU. Nikki Giovanni (Fisk University), Samuel L. Jackson (Morehouse), and Jesse Jackson Jr. (NC A&T) are prime examples of HBCU graduates that have excelled beyond expectations. As you can see, HBCUs not only offer the knowledge, but the discipline and principles needed to become a respectable and humble African American. For over 170 years, HBCUs have been around, helping scholars achieve their dreams, and their impact is growing. While attending HBCUs students can learn to respect their culture and be around positive, leading role models. The power of HBCU Alumni in the African American community is among the highest. Graduating from an HBCU will not only prepare someone for their working career, but also give them the communication and social skills needed to climb to the top. Not to mention HBCU graduates receive mentoring, guidance, advisement, and a positive, hardworking environment. There are over four thousand colleges and universities in the United States, but there are only 117 HBCUs, and they help to produce some of the most prestigious and prosperous people in the world.
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Home > Forums > Interest Groups > HBCU Specific Topics & Concerns > Scholarship Opportunities > Essay Submissions: Living the HBCU Legacy
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