Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the USA (HBCU) are a unique feature of the higher education landscape in the United States, being found mainly in the southern part of the country.
Known by the acronym HBCUs, they are institutions of higher education that were created before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of providing education for the African American community.
This was because, prior to the enactment of this law, African Americans were not allowed to study at most schools, colleges, and universities in the country, which were exclusive to whites.
Today, while the majority of students attending HBCUs are African-American, the diversity in student bodies has increased over time. 1/5 of the university population of these institutions is made up of Hispanic, white, Asian, Native American, and American students from the Pacific Islands. It is also worth remembering that many of these universities are private schools of the Liberal Arts.
Let’s get to know the best Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States currently!
Top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the USA:
1. Spelman College
Spelman College is a private liberal arts college for women located in Atlanta, Georgia. Many successful women on the American scene studied there.
Some examples are famous writer Alice Walker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Evelynn M. Hammonds, former dean of Harvard College and Rosalind Brewer, the first African American CEO at Starbucks. The college currently has students from 41 American states and 15 countries.
The institution is home to The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the only museum in the United States dedicated to art made by women during the African Diaspora period.
2. Howard University
Howard University is a private coeducational college located in Washington, DC. It is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation as a high-production research university and is considered a leader in the study of health disparities among ethnic minorities in the United States.
It is one of the most famous historically black universities in the USA internationally.
Particularly known for studies in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. And, in addition, it is considered one of the main producers of African-American graduates who opt for doctoral courses in Science and Engineering.
Some of the famous alumni are actress Taraji P Henson; Kamala Harris, current US vice president; the author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and the writer Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes.
3. Hampton University
Hampton University was founded in 1868 and is located in Hampton, Virginia. It is home to the Hampton University Museum, the oldest African-American museum in the United States and the first created in the state of Virginia.
The institution’s campus, which is located on the banks of the Hampton River, is a US national reference district, officially recognized by the government for its historical significance.
Buildings in this area include Mansion House, Marquand Memorial Chapel, and Virginia Hall. The institution has a ratio of 10 students per teacher, an average below the national average, which is 18 students for each teacher.
4. Xavier University of Louisiana
The Xavier University of Louisiana is the only Catholic institution among the US Historically Black Colleges and Universities, having been created in 1925 in New Orleans, the capital of Louisiana. It stands out, mainly, in courses linked to the Science area.
The university campus is known as the “Emerald City” because many of its buildings have green roofs. Some examples are the Living Learning Center, the Katharine Drexel Hall, and the Xavier University Library.
5. Tuskegee University
The Tuskegee University campus was designed by architect Robert Robinson Taylor, the first African American to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The university offers 40 baccalaureate programs, 17 master’s, and 5 doctoral programs, in addition to a 5-year professional program in architecture. And the best part is that almost 90% of the institution’s students receive some kind of financial support.
Tuskegee University is the leading training institution for African American aerospace engineers, as well as a leading producer of African American engineering graduates. One of the university’s best-known alumni is singer Lionel Richie, one of the most famous in the country.
6. Morehouse College
Considered the only all-male HBCU in the United States, Morehouse College is a liberal arts college founded in the basement of a Baptist church in Augusta, Georgia, in 1867.
The current name, however, was only defined years later. In 1913, after moving to Atlanta in 1879 and adopting other names, such as Atlanta Baptist College, in 1897.
The institution’s most notable alumnus is Martin Luther King, who graduated there in 1948.
7. Fisk University
Founded in 1866, Fisk University is the oldest higher education institution in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1930, it was also the first African American university to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, one of six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Higher Education Accreditation Council.
The school has several notable alumni who were prominent intellectual and civic leaders, such as sociologist WEB Du Bois and journalist Ida B. Wells.
8. Claflin University
Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and founded in 1869, Claflin University is a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Methodist Church that claims to be the first school in the state open to all races.
As one of the first schools open to black women and students, the institution also claims that two of the world’s first five black women received university degrees through its corridors: Alice Jackson Moorer and Annie Thortne Holmes, both graduated in 1884.
9. Florida A&M University
The Florida A & M University was founded in 1887 in the city of Tallahassee, still under the name of State Normal College for Colored Students, with only 15 students and two instructors.
Currently, with its current name, Florida A&M University is recognized mainly for its school of Pharmacy and also as a leading institution in the awarding of bachelor and doctoral degrees to black students.
Some of the university’s most notable alumni are tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson; Olympic gold medalist sprinter Bob Hayes, and Fox Sports reporter Pam Oliver.
10. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Founded in 1890 in Greensboro, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a university that is among the largest producers of black engineers in the United States, according to the institution’s website.
It is also recognized as one of the oldest public universities in the country. Well-known alumni include civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and Michael Regan, who was recently appointed by President Joe Biden to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Did you already know any of these Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States? Probably not because they are not well known here in Nigeria and other countries.
However, they are excellent educational institutions that have overcome all the years of segregation in the United States and survived to tell this story and train qualified professionals of all races.