By: Trentqual Rhone
There is something to be said about an institution, where the president and the janitor looks alike.Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are truly families, as faculties, staffs, and administrations alike, go above and beyond to provide, an already disadvantaged group, a nurturing environment, which is something many of us have never had. Personal and professional relationships, built on trust, mutual respect, and genuine support, are formed, which in turn, promotes intimate and often life changing conversation.
At our institutions, Black scholarship and Black excellence is exalted, as our artwork is displayed, our businesses are encouraged and our history and achievements -which have been hidden and ignored- is highlighted and discussed in a raw and unfiltered manner.
HBCUs serve as safe havens, as it is one of the few places we can be unapologetically Black.
We uplift our own to instill diligence, dignity, and a strong sense of self. Our men are viewed as more than sexual fetishes and praised for more than their athletic abilities. Our women are celebrated, and not silenced, for the use of their minds and voices.
It is unfortunate that the value of our institutions are still in question, especially when the opposition knows our worth. Still, the evidence is clear: “HBCUs, though underfunded, overproduce.”
Dr. King, the face of the Civil Rights Movement, graduated from Morehouse College. Thurgood Marshall and Fred Gray, two of the most influential attorneys in American history, earned their degrees at Howard University and Alabama State University respectively. It wouldn’t be wrong to refer to the Greensboro Sit-ins as the North Carolina A&T Sit-ins, considering the fact that the four men who organized the protests were all students at North Carolina A&T University.
In modern times, HBCUs, particularly HBCU undergraduate programs, still produce Black excellence. North Carolina A&T University and Tennessee State University are among the top producers of Black engineers and Black teachers respectively.
Yet, if our institutions did not exist, several of the pioneers who made and (or) recorded our history would not have been able to do so. Likewise, people today still would not have the opportunity to attend an institution of higher learning because they do not fit the unreasonable social, economic, and (or) academic requirements to enroll anywhere else.
Therefore, since Black people, as a unit, will always matter, Black students, Black education, and Black institutions will always matter!
Ventress Johnson (TXSU)