Despite the election of President Obama, HBCUs are still a vital part of the African American community.
By: Amanda Anderson
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been a major part of our culture for many years. While these institutions were created at a time when blacks could not attend the same universities as whites, these universities have established their own legacies by providing quality education to African Americans. While we can all agree that HBCUs were needed at a time when segregation was in full force, many argue today that these institutions no longer have a role in today’s society.
After the election of the nation’s first black president, some people have become delusional to the race relations of the country. Yes, it was a wonderful day to see a black family in the white house, but the historical election has not managed to end all racism.
Nor has the election of President Obama managed to improve the overall living conditions and economic hurdles of the African American race. According to statistics, we have the highest rate of unemployment during the recession. The rate of unemployment in the black community nearly doubles the national rate of 9%. Contrary to belief, our issues won’t disappear just because our president is a black man.
HBCUs provide African American students with opportunities that still hold importance today. Only at a HBCU was I able to learn the true history of my people. In public schools around the country, students were only exposed to a watered down version of African American history which only focused on the Civil Rights Movement. HBCUs offer real African American history courses that provides student with the entire story on our race. I learned a lot about myself while taking this course. And for most of these schools, it is required that every student takes a course in African American history.
Another advantage of attending a HBCU is the opportunity to be around your own people. It was beautiful to go to campus each day and see people that looked like me in all of my courses. We hear so many negative statistics daily regarding our lack in strong education, but it feels good to see thousands of black students pursuing higher education. I know some will argue that HBCUs only promote segregation in the new age, but we all know that it is simply not the whole truth. After we graduate from our chosen predominately black universities, we will enter a world where we are once again in the minority. For four years, I was in the majority. And I appreciated my time in college because I knew that I would never be able to experience anything like it ever again.
And lastly, the experiences HBCUs provide students are like no other. I had professors that truly cared about me. Sure, they made me work extremely hard in my courses, but they genuinely cared about me. I wasn’t just another number to them like I would have been in a more traditional institution. They knew my name and they knew my character. When I needed support or advice, they were also there to offer me whatever it was that I needed. And even after graduation, they are still very much a part of my life.
I established the strongest friendships I have ever had while I attended at HBCU. Campus life is truly a one of a kind experience on the campus of a HBCU. Even friends of mine that attended more traditional universities wish they could have experienced the campus life that I lived for four years.
I hope these institutions will be around for many more years to come, so more students can experience the things that I was so fortunate to experience. These moments have changed my life for the better and I will be forever grateful.