“Do they hold up today?”
Well over a century ago, African Americans in the United States were denied the access to a lot of universities across the country. This denial prompted us to create our own universities called, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). I myself the first semester of undergraduate school attended an HBCU called Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. Now, me being born in the year 1987, I had options in which college I would be attending. Nonetheless, I decided to go anyways before transferring back home to UW-Parkside. Now, times have changed since those schools were designed. The question now looms as to do we really need them today. Are HBCU’s relevant in America in today’s society with so many other options?
In my opinion there is an upside and downside of having HBCU’s. The upside of going to an HBCU, is that the courses are more centrally focused in aiding you in your future success. There is more of a guidance process in assisting young Black males and females. You are encouraged to take on a path that will help you after college. HBCU’s also take young people who would otherwise not go to college and cultivate their skills. Most traditional state and private schools may turn them away. But HBCU’s bring them in, and by the time the student leaves they are more than ready for the job market. Yet, are there any downsides to going to an HBCU.
Well, in America today, the downside of going to an HBCU is that you are not getting the interactions you’re going to have in society. Chances are, when you graduate, you’re going to work in a work environment totally different than your school environment. Most workplaces are predominantly White, so you’re talking about two different worlds colliding. Even though I went temporarily to an HBCU, my upbringing was different than most students at the school. But I think the biggest downside is that you can’t get money for college unless you go to an HBCU. In order to gain access to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) finances, you must attend an HBCU. If I grew up in California, most HBCU’s are in the south, what if I want to stay close to home. Now your kid can’t get funding from an organization built to give them finances.
In the end, there is no one side of looking at this topic. There are the ups and downs of keeping HBCU’s open. For the most part they are the start of Black higher education in America. But since desegregation, Black students are choosing upon schools that have better academic programs, yet the financing for the HBCU’s have declined. What’s sad is that the more time that pass, HBCU’s will further decline. Especially knowing that you can’t procure funding if you want to stay where you’re from. President Trump recently met with HBCU presidents, yet it will take more than a meeting and photo op to save these schools.