In the past, most African Americans were unable to receive an education. The struggle to receive an education overall derived from the lack of equality, segregation, and slavery. Due to the inability to learn as quickly as others, African Americans made it their duty to find their own way. Each of our ancestors strived to create an education that they could pass onto others. With help from the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890 and the Higher Education Act of 1985, the African American community was able to create a place where many like-minded individuals could receive an education. These institutions that African Americans were able to leave behind their legacy are now known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
History of HBCUs
Richard Humphreys established the African Institute in 1837, which we now know as Cheyney University. Located in Pennsylvania, Cheyney University marks the oldest HBCU in the United States. Many HBCUs establishments followed closely behind Cheyney University. Minor Normal, Lincoln University, and Wilberforce University shortly followed the establishment of Cheyney University. The HBCU community then began to increase rapidly after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Currently, there are over 100 HBCUs in the United States that still serve students from the African American community. Even though all HBCUs are categorized as a historically black college and university, each of them are very unique in their own way. From Delaware to South Carolina, each institution is diverse in studies, demographics, and most of all school pride. However, each of them pride themselves to keep the HBCU torch lit and continue the legacy of black institutions.
Quick Facts About HBCUs
HBCUs are distinctive and are known for their rare facts. Below are a few facts about HBCUs that you maybe didn’t know.
- The state of Alabama has the most HBCUs located in that state. With over 13 HBCUs, Alabama is embracing the education of African Americans.
- Bennett College is the first of only two HBCUs that was founded as an all-female college; Spelman College, in Atlanta, was the second.
- Voorhees College and Bethune-Cookman University are the only two HBCUs founded by women. Voorhees College in Denmark, SC was founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897 and Bethune-Cookman University was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1904.
HBCU Prep School
To continue the much needed conversation around HBCUs and to ensure that these schools become a household name, Claudia Walker launched The HBCU Prep School. The HBCU Prep School is an education and publishing company that celebrates Black culture and provides information to make children and young adults aware of the education system African Americans have fought to obtain. The HBCU Prep School provides Wall cards & the book entitled The ABCs of HBCUs. Expected to be on sale in December of this year, The ABCs of HBCUs will give readers a quick tour of Historically Black Colleges & Universities. Written by Claudia Walker, a graduate of Spelman College, and images provided by Jessica E. Boyd, also a graduate of Spelman College, this ABC board book helps children recognize that learning their ABC’s is much more interesting when the adults can add connections and experiences from the HBCU journey.
From Hampton University to Oakwood University, the books connected the alphabets to the HBCU culture. Whether it’s the Divine Nine or Battle of the Bands, children are expected to learn about the legacy, fulfillment, and deep love individuals have for these institutions. The HBCU Prep School mission is to bring the black college experience into each of your homes or classrooms through books, curriculum, and courses that explore the brilliance of African American history. We can only anticipate what to expect from this organization, but we can get started with the experience that Ms. Walker has already prepared for us.7