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Living the HBCU Legacy--William Rowell Posted on 08-02-2008

William Rowell jrowell15@yahoo.com August 1, 2008
Living the HBCU Legacy
I am a current student of a HBCU, and I can tell you how they have contributed to American history and how they are relevant today. From my experiences at my university I have gained a greater appreciation and understanding of theses institutions. Before I enrolled at my college I just though an HBCU was a school that was majority black, but now I know legacies and history they have produced and are still producing. HBCUs have contributed to American history by producing some of the nation’s greatest civil rights activists. Two of the most notable graduates of historically black universities are Dr. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although these great men had contrasting views on how to obtain civil rights for African American in the early 1900s, they both struggled to help achieve it. Dubois helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which is an organization that is still very active today. Washington was not as openly aggressive as Du Bois in is push for rights instead he would often fund court cases against segregation and disfranchisement. The foundations that they laid were essential in obtaining equality for blacks. In addition, my personal favorite civil rights activists are alumni of my HBCU. The Greensboro Four, students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, sat in a “whites only” lunch counter to protest segregation in the South. This act of civil disobedience was covered by the media nationwide and sparked many other sit-in and boycott movements in the 1960s. The Greensboro Four helped put the civil rights movement on a national stage in a time when many northerners were aware of the inequalities of the south. HBCUs are relevant today because African Americans are also relevant. They were schools made for us by us. HBCUs are meant to help educate black people so that they can better themselves. They are deeply rooted in our pasts and yet they still manage shape our future. Historically black universities have not become irrelevant because black people still need them. They provide an invaluable service to the black community by providing an affordable and quality education to African American students. The HBCU deserves its own pages in American history because our country is a better one for having them. They birthed the black leaders that brought equality to a torn and corrupt nation. HBCUs are still providing the same needed services from one hundred years ago today. They have contributed greatly to American history, and are still very relevant today.
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