March 7th, 2011

Are Black Colleges Still Relevant?


Black history means so much more to me now than it did when I was younger. Most of this is due to the blessing of me attending and graduating from a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).

There, I was able to really learn and understand the meaning and importance of my forefathers and the sacrifices they made in order for me to have education and the other freedoms we now have in this century. Now, my drive is to continue to make strides for African Americans as I embark on my journey. I aspire to inspire others, just like my ancestors did.

Since the 1800’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been established all over the United States and now there are over 100 schools and counting. Now that we have a black President, many people are asking, “Are HBCUs still relevant?” Well of course they are!

If it weren’t for Morehouse College, there would be no Martin Luther King Jr. If it weren’t for Tennessee State University, there would be no Oprah Winfrey. If it weren’t for Clark Atlanta University, there would be no me and other great men and women who have and will walk those brick roads on James P. Brawley Drive.

I’m a strong supporter of black colleges and universities and overall education and professional development. Here are my op 7 reasons why you should consider attending a black college.

It’s a family affair: Many youth embrace the HBCU atmosphere because they are in an environment where they are celebrated who they are while simultaneously gaining a valuable education. These schools give their students a nurturing environment that other institutions of higher learning don’t necessarily offer.  Most of the faculty and administration derive from HBCU’s as well, so this creates a bond that spans across generations. HBCU’s embody the spirit of embracing your culture and being proud of it.

You’re walking the path of greatness: Going to an HBCU gives you a sense of heritage. Most of the schools were founded and built in times where African Americans were still slaves. Also, some of our historical gems such as W.E.B. Dubois and James Weldon Johnson attended and taught at these prestigious schools. Students are always reminded of the sacrifice their forefathers made in order for them to obtain education and freedom. This proves to be a motivating force for all HBCU students and graduates.

Close-knit and focused: Most class sizes are small, and the faculty to student ratio allows students to develop very strong, personal relationships with professors. Being that HBCU’s are few and far in between in comparison to predominantly white institutions, students are empowered and are always pushed to excel.

Kings and Queens: Because America is a melting pot, youth are exposed to all types of cultures and races. Going to an HBCU is a culture shock in itself because students get the chance to be in an environment where everyone looks just like them and in turn has the same drive to succeed and be successful in their endeavors. Students are able to see the true beauty in themselves and their peers all day, everyday. The experience of being able to see young, black scholars everyday is powerful and everyone’s true colors shine bright.

Education is wealth: HBCU’s are known for producing stellar graduates into the working world. In fact, HBCU’s are home to over 50 percent of all the black professionals in the world. HBCU’s are scouting grounds for prominent companies who are searching for new and emerging talent. Nine out of 10 colleges that have African-American graduates who go on to pursue higher degrees, are from HBCUs. Also, over 80 percent of black medical professionals with PHD’s obtain their degrees from HBCU’s. The supportive atmosphere of an HBCU also seems to improve a student’s ability to reach the highest levels of academic achievement

Culture for culture: Although HBCU’s are institutions that predominantly African Americans go to, there are many sub-cultures within this race. HBCU’s attract people from all over America and other countries across the world. With this fusion, students are able to grasp knowledge of different ideals they are not custom to. Diversity thrives in these schools, people of color come from so many different backgrounds and bringtheir beauty and brains to collaborate with others.

Talented Tenth: Once you matriculate at an HBCU, you officially become apart of a prestigious group of individuals known as the, “Talented Tenth.”  This ideal was coined by Dr. W.E.B. Dubois and references a group of the best from the African American community. The Talented Tenth are trailblazers who are encouraged to help change the social/economic status of African Americans everywhere. This group will emerge into society as members who educate, uplift and give back to their communities.

HBCU’s are here to be the stepping stones to success for black youth and young adults. Continue to let the HBCU’s reign in traditions, culture, education and innovation by supporting them any way that you can

About the Author

Empress Varnado
Empress Varnado is a budding Public Relations and Marketing professional who fosters a fighting spirit and a drive to succeed. She lives by the motto; “I’ll Find A Way or Make One,” in which she uses her creativity, ambition and skills to accomplish her goals.


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  1. HBCU’s breeds nothing but greatness! I love this article and I love my HBCU! #Howard

    If you love your HBCU just as much as I do, visit http://www.HBCUbuzz.com to keep up with the latest news at all the HBCU’s!

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  4. I’m a strong supporter of black colleges and universities and overall education and professional development. Here are my op 7 reasons why you should consider attending a black college.

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  6. THANK YOU!!!
    What a great article. As a retired principal and guidance counselor I’d love to share with as many students and parents as possible! Planning an HBCU campus tour trip in the near future! Thanks
    Debra Carter
    Fort Worth, Texas

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