by Raven Tyler
If you weren’t already hipped “HBCU” stands for “Historically Black College and Universities.”
HBCUs are institutions of higher education that were first established in the 1830s.
Until 1963, one year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African Americans were not allowed to attend the same institutions as Caucasians. This made HBCUs the only destination for aspiring black students. HBCUs were established with the intent of serving the African American community when Predominantly White Institutions or PWIs refused to do so.
Today, African Americans are awarded the opportunity of school choice. For some of the top black high school students in the country, the choice between attending a PWI or a HBCU can be one of the hardest decisions these adolescents will ever make.
Some black students will ultimately choose a HBCU based on the inclusivity of an environment that is saturated with people who share their same skin color. However, other black students will choose PWIs because they find that the HBCU experience is just not their “cup of tea.”
No matter what a student’s potential school choice may be, there is no denying that there are still many false negative stigmas that surround HBCUs. Some believe that these institutions are simply just “party” schools. Others believe the schools are “racist” or discriminatory towards other races. However, notions like these are simply not true.
Although HBCUs are responsible for contributing to a significant part of the black middle class, HBCUs are not exclusive to only black students. There are Latinos, Asians, Caucasians, and people from all over the world that attend HBCUs.
Many students come from places such as the Caribbean, Africa, South America, and Europe.
At an HBCU, students receive historical insight on African American history, and are immersed in a culture with others who may relate to their own experiences. For many this provides a certain level of comfortability that makes the adjustment from high school to college seem a little bit easier.
The HBCU experience can aid in one’s self-confidence and self love. HBCUs provide a family atmosphere for students who want to gain an education while also having a good time.
While the choice between a HBCU or PWI is an individual decision, HBCUs have proven that they are excellent institutions for both growth and education, and should be treated as such.