An HBCU is a Historically Black College or University. Even though these aren't universities that denied admission to white students, they are schools that have historically had a predominant percentage of students from minority backgrounds. Throughout the United States, there are 107 public and private institutions that meet this category.
HBCUs were specifically designed to serve students of all backgrounds and races. According to the Higher Education Act of 1965, an HBCU is a college or university that was established prior to 1964 and was specifically designed to provide educational opportunities to people of African American descent. The school also has to be accredited and nationally recognized by an accrediting association or agency that has been deemed as such by the Secretary of Education.
Today, segregation is not a part of education; however, when many colleges and universities were founded, it was legal for educational institutions at all levels to deny specific educational opportunities to people of color. Specifically, this was applied to Black individuals. As a result, Black Americans needed to look elsewhere if they were interested in pursuing higher education. That led to a rush to open up colleges and universities that were specifically designed to provide educational opportunities to Black students. The legacy of HBCUs is powerful, and they continue to be important even to this day.
Given that slavery was alive for much longer in the south than it was in the north, it should come as no surprise that a lot of HBCUs have been opened in the southern part of the country. Even though there are HBCU educational institutions scattered across the country, many of them are still in the south.
For example, North Carolina has a lot of historically black colleges and universities. Some of the most popular public, four-year colleges include Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University, and North Carolina A&T State University. There is also a handful of private historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina. Examples include Johnson C. Smith University, Shaw University, and Livingstone College.
The state with the most HBCUs is Alabama where there are fourteen. Other states with HBCUs include Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri Delaware, Virginia, Florida West Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia.
Given that the act that established HBCUs only applies to schools that were open before 1964, there are no new HBCUs that are being opened; however, it is not unusual for many historically black colleges and universities to expand their offerings. Therefore, there are new educational opportunities being created for people of minority backgrounds.
At the same time, people are allowed to go to these schools even if they are not of African American descent. They are specifically designed to provide educational opportunities to everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, so they continue to remain popular to this day. The legacy of HBCUs is very strong, and educational opportunities deserve to be afforded to all Americans.
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