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Essay: "Living the HBCU Legacy" Posted on 08-01-2008

There is a saying, “Behind every good man is a woman.” I believe that behind almost every African American Pioneer is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). People such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E.B. DuBois (William Edward Burghard DuBois), Thurgood Marshall, Booker T. Washington, Lawrence Wilder and Andrew Young attended HBCUs. The most interesting and amazing thing is that they all obtained high positions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who attended Morehouse College, was a Civil Rights activist and the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Thurgood Marshall was a great lawyer, Chief Council for the NAACP and served as Associate United States Supreme Court Justice. He graduated from Howard University Law School. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Booker T. Washington to be one of his advisers. Booker T. Washington graduated from Hampton Institute and founded Tuskegee Institute. Lawrence Douglas, who also graduated from Howard University, was Virginia’s first black governor (and was the United States first black governor too). President Jimmy Carter appointed Andrew Young to be an ambassador of the United Nations. He also graduated from Howard University. One major factor of why HBCUs are relevant today is because they accept many African American students who may have been turned down by colleges with a predominately white population. Unfortunately, I am a **** of this situation. I applied to four white universities and two HBCUs. Sadly I was turned down by all of the four white universities. I felt like I was in a tunnel full of darkness. Then came a light at the end of the tunnel. That light was an acception from an HBCU, the great Bethune-Cookman University. After being accepted I then learned that I was not the only person to experience this. Thurgood Marshall was denied from the University of Maryland Law School because he was black. He did not let that get in his way. He graduated from Howard University Law School and became a distinguished black pioneer. Thanks to HBCUs, we African American students can learn a lot more about our ancestors. Like James Evens Sr. said in the show “Good Times” (John Amos), “How can you know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’ve been?”
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