A 7-Year Old Child And A 21-Year Old College Student HBCUs – Relevant and Necessary in 21st Century America

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HBCUs – Relevant and Necessary in 21st Century America

HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) have played a vital role in the history of American education, though some critics have sought to marginalize their prodigious achievements. At the same time, while some of these critics also question their relevance in 21st century America, HBCUs are as important and necessary as ever.

When the first HBCU was established before the Civil War (1861-1865) – Cheney State University (originally established as the Institute for Colored Youth after Richard Humphreys (1750-1832), a Quaker philanthropist moved by the 1829 race riots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bequeathed $10,000 (1/10 of his estate) to create a school for “descendants of the African race,” first HBCU, in Philadelphia in 1837 , 1854 at Lincoln University (formerly Ashmun College) near Philadelphia (by John Miller Dickey (1806-1878), a Presbyterian minister) as the first HBCU to provide higher education in the arts and sciences to black men, and Wilberforce, The first private HBCU in an underground train station (to free people from the “bondage of ignorance”) was established in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1856 (founded by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and named after 18th century abolitionists William Wilberforce (1759-1833), “it was illegal to teach blacks to read and write” because literate blacks were seen as “dangerous” to society.[1]

Therefore, before the start of the Civil War, the black illiteracy rate was more than 95%, and most literate blacks were concentrated in the Northeast. Moreover, with no schools to meet their intellectual needs, nearly all Blakes who were literate in the antebellum era were self-taught.

After the Civil War, the first HBCU era (1865-1915) began when laws prohibiting black education were repealed. While ambivalence and blatant hostility remained in the defeated South (translated into Jim Crow segregation laws, enacted in 1876 and entrenched until 1965), the number of HBCUs proliferated.

Because of the overwhelming need for education for freed slaves and their families (still intact), they were barred from white institutions, which included the vast majority of the North (until the 1950s and 1960s), HBCUs (run by churches, missionaries groups and philanthropists) began perhaps the greatest educational revolution in history. According to Kenneth Ng, “Wealth Redistribution, Race, and Southern Public Schools, 1880-1910” (Archives of Education Policy Analysis, May 13, 2001), among a formerly enslaved population of over 4 million, “the educational achievement of blacks is Huge.” Black literacy increased to 10 percent by 1880, 50 percent by 1910, and 70 percent by 1915. Considering that Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) established the doctrine of “separate but equal,” which effectively resulted in blacks attending double, inferior, underfunded schools, segregated schools, and the The achievement of oppressive Southern racial laws, thanks in large part to the HBCU’s efforts, is miraculous — in Ng’s words, “a rare achievement in human history.”

The alarming rise in black literacy is largely due to HBCUs, not or related to the elementary and secondary schools established in Plessy v. Ferguson. Before the 20th century, many HBCUs had to offer elementary and secondary education and college preparatory courses before students could pursue a college degree, some of which were exclusively focused on black males (such as Morehouse College, founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1867, Nobel Alma mater of Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)) and others that target black women only (such as Spelman College, founded in 1881 in the basement of a church in Atlanta, Georgia, Recently ranked #1 in a poll for “social mobility due to its impressive 77% graduation rate.” HBCUs did not begin separate postsecondary education until after 1900. January 1991, President George H.W. Bush said, “At a time when many schools barred their access to black Americans, these colleges offered the best, and often the only, opportunity for higher education.”

With dramatic increases in black literacy, the second HBCU era (1916-1969) focused on creating black professionals and the middle class. Their efforts encountered serious obstacles though. Few blacks had the financial means to take advantage of these professionals, and few whites were interested in their services.During this period, in an effort to ensure that blacks were able to reap the economic benefits of their degrees, HBCUs, according to Ronald Roach, celebrated the history and contributions of black universities (Black Issues, October 21, 2004) and shifted their focus from the liberal arts to A debate between Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an industrial and vocational education educator, author, and speaker (a graduate of Hampton University (Hampton, Virginia) and former president of Tuskegee University), who Argues that blacks’ best chance of achieving equality…is through the accumulation of power, wealth, and respect through actual work [vocational] Trade” and sociologist, author, and historian WEB DuBois (1868-1963) argued that, in addition to professional trade, “equality and a sense of purpose can only be achieved if talented Negroes are allowed to study the arts and sciences.”[2]

Ironically, however, the successful climax of the civil rights movement in 1968 won the right to vote for blacks, broke down the barriers of segregation, and provided important protections and new opportunities against racial discrimination, effectively threatening HBCUs’ access to entered their third era (one in which their viability, even survival, was threatened despite government assistance through Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965), as black enrollments plummeted. From 1965 to 1969, approximately 80%-99% of blacks were enrolled in HBCUs. From 1970 to 2010, fewer than 10 percent of blacks were enrolled in HBCUs, and many of them took advantage of desegregated public and private institutions, community colleges, and two-year institutions.

This era of decline, financial difficulties (especially among non-state-supported institutions), and the shift of some institutions that are (such as West Virginia State University) or are becoming majority-white institutions have, not surprisingly, sparked debate about relevance and even continued need For HBCUs, their mission and focus, and even their relevance in 21st century America. But the fact remains – HBCUs are as necessary and relevant as ever, and continue to play a critical role in ensuring, because, in the words of U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), as E. Lee Lassiter It’s an imperative, said Dr. Coppin’s HBCU role, selected by the September 1, 2006 National Salute article, “All our children have the opportunity to succeed and ensure they have 21st century skills and . …to think about work in the 21st century.”

With every demographic group except whites and Asians regressing intergenerationally in academic achievement, HBCUs must focus on minority education. Per John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Third Transformation in America (The Presidency. American Council on Education. Winter 2010) Generational Academic Achievement Little Improvement for All Races, All Individuals Ages 25-29 35.5% of those with a college degree vs. 34.9% of all people aged 30 and over (in part due to Asians – 66.3% of 25-29 vs. 54.5% of 30+ and Whites – 41.8% of 25-29- 38.0% of the elderly and those over 30 years old). When it comes to Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians, the numbers range from disappointing to dismal. Blacks suffered the least erosion, with 24.3% of blacks ages 25-29 earning a college degree, compared with 24.6% of those in the 30+ age group. 16.8% of Hispanics ages 25-29 have a college degree, compared to 18.1% of Hispanics over age 30 and only 16.3% of American Indians (1878) in 25- The 29-year-olds earned a college degree, compared with 21.7 percent of those 30 and older.

Second, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, more than 80 percent of blacks who earn degrees in dentistry and medicine attend two HBCUs that specialize in these fields (Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Meharry College of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee). Currently, Both schools account for 19.7 percent of all medical and dental degrees awarded to black students. In addition, HBCUs train 75 percent of black officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, 75 percent of black men with doctorates, 80 percent of black federal judges, and 50 percent of black teachers at traditionally white institutions.

Third, HBCUs continue to be at the forefront of obtaining science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees for black students, which is especially important because degrees in STEM fields (if the U.S. is to compete in a global, technology-driven economy) have declined significantly over the past 10 years Significant declines among students earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics (22%-26%), with 70% of students aged 18-24 pursuing these fields 19%), such as Steve Suitts (Southern Educational Foundation, Atlanta, Ga., July 3, 2003), tops the list of graduate and postdoctoral students. With this in mind, a renaissance era for HBCUs may hinge on their emphasis on STEM subjects.

Other advantages offered include smaller class sizes than traditional colleges (providing a more personalized experience), community service opportunities that enrich students and community members (such as mentoring elementary, middle and high school students and assisting charitable organizations) and opportunities for graduate school and HR recruiters looking for, in the words of Jeff McGuire, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Choosing the Right Historically Black College for You (College View, Dec. 18, 2009), “They can’t Find the diversity and talent elsewhere.”

A final important reason for HBCUs to retain their pivotal role is their positive vibe and deeper focus on the cultural and historical contributions of African-American and minority minorities, as well as the fact that they serve minorities (many of whom live have experienced discrimination or inequality at some stage, including those born in the post-civil rights era (including the 1980s and 1990s), come from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and have access to support and redress when they encounter academic challenges /keep networking for higher self esteem. In the words of Cedar Lawrence, a recruiter at Fort Valley State University (Fort Valley, Ga.), the HBCU provides an atmosphere where they can “talk very openly about issues facing people of color . . . Solutions for getting a better “family atmosphere” without having to worry about “what people think about race” and/or other stereotypes.

In conclusion, HBCUs are relevant and necessary in 21st century America. With its offerings in STEM fields, small class sizes, remedial/retention/support networks, diversity, and openness, HBCU is essential to not only American cities, but to every community in today’s and tomorrow’s knowledge technology society. important. HBCUs are critical to ensuring equal opportunity and bright futures for students of all races, especially because of their continued efforts and contributions to proactively address socioeconomic barriers that can hold back entire races and, ultimately, psychologically and economically Race. The rich past history of HBCUs makes clear that they remain a powerful equalizer, ensuring that every dream, regardless of economic class and race, is at least a realistic possibility of realization.

[1] Rakisha had heard of it. African-American illiteracy rates. December 18, 2009. http://www.oppapers.com/essays/African-American-Literacy/261112

[2] The History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Historic Tradition. College landscape. December 18, 2009. [http://www.collegeview.com/articles/CV/hbcu/hbcu_history.html]

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