Written by: Sharon Mills
Before we were admitted into PWI's [Predominately White Institutions], Historically Black Colleges & Universities were the only spaces where African Americans could get an education in the United States. The majority of the 107 HBCU's have humble beginnings in churches, old plantation houses, or simple single framed buildings. The first HBCU, "The Institute for Colored Youth" [currently known as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania], was founded in 1837 by Richard Humphreys a foreign philanthropist who had a passion for helping the former slaves who were not able to attain jobs due to their lack of education. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore [formally known as the Delaware Conference Academy then Maryland State College] is on former plantation grounds in Princess Anne, Maryland, the same town where Maryland's last recorded lynching was.
Historically Black Institutions are important because we need black spaces in society. We need black spaces where our legacy can live on and thrive forever. Xavier University in Louisiana graduates the most African American medical students in the United States. Hampton University's Mary Jackson helped break barriers in engineering at NASA in the 1960s and was recently featured in the movie Hidden Figures. Hip Hop's first sole Billionaire will likely be Howard University's Sean Combs. HBCUs are the breeding places for Black Excellence. It is important that we keep these black spaces available for generations to come so we can be emerged in our history. Continue to give back to our institutions and keep the spotlight on HBCUs
Ventress Johnson (TXSU)