You’ve heard or read about them before. You probably know someone who’s attended. Maybe you’re a graduate yourself. Does the acronym HBCU spark your attention? As a haven for Black Americans to get a postsecondary education, HBCUs have grown in significance as the place where networking opportunities are abundant and generational leaders are created.
But what’s the history behind the HBCU? What impact do HBCUs have on the Black community beyond institutionalized doors? And who’s supporting the HBCUs to ensure that their significance stays relative? Ahead, we explore the answers to these questions. You ready?
WHAT IS AN HBCU?
An HBCU is a Historically Black College and/or University that was established to serve the educational and professional needs of Black Americans. Historically, the Black community would oftentimes be denied from predominately white institutions, so the HBCU became a way to provide an educational experience for Black Americans.
HBCUs are the educational playground for #blackexcellence, repping history, legacy, and fun. (Did you know that Spelman College, an all-female-identifying HBCU, birthed four of MBIB’s founding members?) There are currently 100+ HBCUs in the U.S., made up of both public and private schools. Some non-Black students are admitted; HBCUs aim to be as diverse and inclusive as possible while still maintaining their mission. HBCUs give their students a place to experience the joy of community—pop-up events, themed parties, or collaborative gatherings—proving work and play can co-exist.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT OF AN HBCU?
HBCUs help provide Black students with opportunities post-graduation, giving them the ability to compete on the same level as white students. HBCUs also thrive on community, building long-term relationships that give Black people a support system. HBCU bonds are strong, which keeps spirits high.
WHO’S SUPPORTING HBCUS?
In order for HBCUs to withstand an ever-changing economy, institutions need support, and students need financial support. During COVID-19, millions of dollars have been dedicated to HBCUs. Finance programs, resources, and even free tuition have been donated to HBCUs, giving more students the opportunity to step into their Black excellence.
HBCUs are proof that the Black academic experience is cultural—institutions that exist to house our bodies, brains, and souls, too. We applaud all HBCUs (especially those that have birthed some of MBIB’s decision makers!) for their stamina, resilience, and pride. These are qualities that MBIB carries forward, a reminder that Black bodies are to be seen and celebrated—regardless of whether the world agrees or not.
HBCUs uphold representation that contrasts the stereotypes the media showcases for the Black community. We’re thankful for the community that extends beyond these institutions’ walls, and the countless opportunities HBCUs help create for Black people around the world. The overall message screams, “Yes we can!”
Long. Live. HBCUs.
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