Word in Black: Five HBCUs Leading the Charge in Creating Black Excellence (... Two Are 1890s)
From Word in Black …
What do Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Vice President Kamala Harris have in common? They’re all graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The schools saw a surge in applications from high school seniors after the murder of George Floyd. And along with increasingly being seen by Black high school students and families as havens of safety — both physically and culturally — HBCUs produce nearly 13 percent of all Black graduates, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
These schools are a testament to the determination of Black Americans to create spaces of excellence, empowerment, and cultural affirmation in the face of racism. And in the nearly 187 years since the first HBCU — the African Institute, later renamed Cheyney University of Pennsylvania — opened its doors, they’ve become incubators of Black intellectuals, activists, and professionals.
A 2022 proclamation from President Biden for National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week pointed out their incredible contributions to society: “HBCUs have produced 40 percent of all Black engineers and 50 percent of all Black lawyers in America. Seventy percent of Black doctors in our country attended an HBCU, and 80 percent of Black judges are alumni of these schools.”
The institutions also play a prominent role in maintaining the Black teacher pipeline. They produce 50% of Black teachers, thus boosting the number of Black men entering classrooms and introducing students to the love of learning.
So, this Black History Month, let’s look at the contributions five HBCUs have made, and how their current impact on K-12 education makes a difference.