Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also known as HBCUs, are higher educational institutions that were established to serve the African American community during times of heavy racism. Most HBCUs were constructed before the Civil Rights Movement - for example, Howard University was founded in 1867.
Before the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans were not allowed to attend colleges, thus these colleges often provided the best opportunity for higher education to African Americans.
In 1965, president Lyndon Johnson passed the Higher Education Act, which officially accredited all HBCUs. This marked society’s recognition of HBCUs, and further helped boost African Americans in society.
In addition, these schools provided many notable black athletes the opportunity of going professional. Some of these famous athletes include Walter Payton(Jackson State) and Jerry Rice(Mississippi Valley State).
Many famous African American actors also have come out of HBCUs. For example, Samuel L. Jackson, who graduated out of Morehouse College with a degree in acting, is one of the movie industry’s most prized stars.
Today, HBCUs still play a very important role in promoting African Americans through higher education. For example, over 25% of today’s African American college graduates are from HBCUs. Additionally, HBCUs are a great investment for college students - costs are, on average, about 30% less than the average cost of college tuition.
Overall, HBCUs are a great investment for society. They help promote African Americans into society, help increase the much needed diversity in the workforce, and do so affordably.