Saint Augustine's College
(BLACK PR WIRE/SAC-RALEIGH)--The homecomings, step shows, being on the “Yard” and drum lines are all things an attendee of a Historical Black College or University (HBCU) would know about. HBCUs were originally established after the civil war for newly freed slaves to receive an education. Today, African American students have the choice to attend whatever school they would like, HBCU or non-HBCU. As a result, some have begun to ask the question, “Are HBCUs still relevant?”
“The reason I chose to attend an HBCU was to grasp the culture of the African American race,” says Jazmin Johnson, a junior from Florida A&M University and a native of Jersey City, New Jersey. “I went to a very diverse high school and it was always my dream to attend a black institution.” Like Johnson, most African American students who attend an HBCU do so to learn more about their own race.
Some facts about HBCUs (according to www.thinkhbcu.com):
•Nine of the top 10 colleges that graduate African American students who go on to earn Ph.D.s are HBCUs.
•More than 50 percent of the nation's African American public school teachers and 70 percent of African American dentists and physicians earned degrees at HBCUs.
•HBCUs produce 44 percent of all African American bachelor's degrees awarded for communications technology, 33 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded for engineering technology, and 43 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded for mathematics.
•Almost half of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended an HBCU.
Despite the proven success that graduation from an HBCU brings most, many African American college students still will choose the traditional college or university over an HBCU. Jonathan Wellington, a senior at Montclair State University in New Jersey says, “I think HBCUs are no better than any other higher learning institution. At a traditional college, I think you’re exposed to different walks of people that come from various backgrounds…If I had the chance to attend an HBCU, I probably wouldn’t for the prime reason that the ‘real world’ isn’t compiled of people of one ethnicity or race so I don’t want to be exposed to just one.”
HBCUs are still alive and very relevant. An HBCU is a place of higher learning where African American students can find a sense of “self” and pride. Students are able to see other students like themselves striving for the same common goal, a degree. Students learn to have a love for their HBCU that isn’t common in traditional schools. Johnson says, “Our love for the school (FAMU) I think is the greatest love, I don’t think a traditional school can top us. It is kind of like black love and black love to me is the greatest love ever. Black love and school pride is a great combination and the greatest aspect of my HBCU.”