Long live HBCUs
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 19:09
Historically Black Colleges and Universities are places that have opened doors for African Americans around the world. For many you could call it a ritual proving ground. HBCUs have given African Americans a place to excel and experience things that can change their lives and also the lives of others.
In a 2010 article titled ‘Black Colleges Need a New Mission’ written by Jason L. Riley of The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, he stated that black students are “better off exercising their non-HBCU options.”
A bold statement, when you consider the rich heritage of HBCUs.
Riley went on in the article, throwing out statistics and making comparisons to some of the most “prestigious” schools, trying to persuade his readers that HBCUs are a waste of time.
What Riley failed to mention in his article was the many scholars who were educated by these same institutions he deemed unnecessary.
Inspirations like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did his studies at Morehouse College. Earl Graves, the founder of Black Enterprise magazine attended Morgan State University, and let us not forget the Queen of the talk show and superb humanitarian Oprah Winfrey, who did her studies at Tennessee State University.
Riley continued making countless comparisons between HBCUs and Predominantly White Institutions. He gave his readers plenty of graduation and retention rates but never thought to speak out on the type of funding these PWIs receive in comparison to HBCUs.
Places like Harvard or Princeton, even UNC Chapel Hill or Duke, receive entirely different funding than HBCUs.
If you’re using older edition textbooks and outdated programs there is no way for you to get ahead or even keep up with someone or something that has the latest of everything.
The resources for PWIs and HBCUs vary in such a major way that it affects the potential performance of some HBCUs and their student body.
So when Riley decided to make comparisons he should have also judged where the bulk of the government funding is going.
I have visited campuses like N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill and can see a total shift in the layout of their campus compared to N.C. Central University or N.C. A&T University. I have even used their resources when they were unavailable at my own institution.
I have seen the differences and I do not think it’s because these schools are better or offer a different education. They simply have the resources that HBCUs do not get.
Should we blame the students and cut out a part of history that has still managed to do so much for the black community? Riley sure thinks so.
HBCUs have changed the lives of people no matter what their race was. There are some HBCUs such as West Virginia State University that boasts a large, white student body. So you see it is not just black students that need HBCUs.
HBCUs are very important. They help us look back on our culture and see how things have changed through the many years they’ve been standing. HBCUs are important and will forever remain that way.