By Marquis Jones
HBCU’s ?! Actually comprehend what they represent; “Historical Black Colleges and Universities”. These institutions of higher learning faced a type of racism that you couldn’t imagine. Black ministers and white philanthropists established schools all across the South to educate freed slaves. These Universities are considered historical because people literally lost their lives so they could exist.
These schools, more than 100 of which are still open today, became known as historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. ..
During the beginning of the 1900’s and late 1800’s there were only a handful of colleges that accepted black applicants. After the Civil War, African Americans education increased and many don’t understand or care to understand how dangerous this was. African Americans were not considered equal so therefore many whites felt they did not deserve an education. In the rural South this was more evident then up north.
Cheyney University the oldest HBCU in the United States. When the school first opened its doors it was originally known as the Institute for Colored Youth. A Virgin Island born descendant name Richard Humphreys bestowed 10,000 of his estate in his will to the University. Mr. Humphreys gave to this university even tho he knew he would be around to see it started or even prosper. He believed the descendants of the African race needed an education system. Cheyney University was not established until 1837, five years before Mr. Richard Humphreys had passed. . Humphreys dedicated one-tenth of his estate to the establishment of a school which would address this urgent need.
After the opening of Cheyney, it displayed a blue print for which the negro should follow if building universities was a priority. Not soon after Lincoln of Pennsylvania was founded in 1854. Initially opening up its doors as a private institution, but would become a public school in 1974. Lincoln became the very first degree-granting HBCU in the United States. In 1856 Wilberforce Ohio was founded. This institution was the first HBCU to be completely ran and owed by African Americans. Lincoln was founded by local members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Harris-Stowe which is located in St Louis, Missouri was established in 1857; The college has “distinction of being the first public institute of teacher education west of the Mississippi River”… This University was name in honor of William Torrey Harris; A U.S. education Commissioner and Superintendent of the St. Louis public School district.
Let’s understand this was no easy fortune for African’s; “They started in church basements, they started in old schoolhouses, they started in people’s homes,”… Primarily schools for the “negro’ were only intended to give the basic primary and secondary education. But schools evolved due to their own commitment and hard work. In today’s world, these Universities allow you to be whatever you want; from an engineer, a physician, a lawyer or politician. I can write all day about the unjustly (due) that these institutions faced. But that’s not the point. Let’s understand sometimes we have to be the face of change even though we may not see any of its benefits.