Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are just as valuable as predominantly White institutions (PWIs). In fact, many HBCUs are better than PWIs. Don’t let people tell you that you should attend PWIs because HBCUs do not have any real value. Many successful Black people graduated from HBCUs. When you look at many well-known Black people’s academic backgrounds, you will find that they may have graduated with their master’s or doctoral degrees from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, but their undergraduate degrees come from HBCUs like Albany State University, Howard University, Fisk University, or Hampton University. If you really want to be challenged and really want to receive an education instead of a miseducation, an HBCU is the place where you want to be.
If you are Black, an HBCU gives you access to a professional network to help you to advance academically, socially, and professionally. I have read too many blog posts and opinion pieces published in various venues that argue that HBCUs don’t prepare students for the real world because they don’t show students what the real world looks like. They have argued that having Blacks students situated predominantly with other Black students does not equip them to be able to work with and understand the predominantly White America we reside in. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Nobody knows better how to work with and understand White people better than Black people. Trust me! We, Blacks, have been working with White people even before this country was founded, so we kinda got this thing figured out by now. Ya dig what I’m saying?
A strong effort has been engaged in by many conservatives, Whites, and republicans to defund and dismantle HBCUs. Other than racist motivations, I cannot understand why these people would try to eliminate and damage HBCUs in this way. I wonder does it have to do with trying to prevent a significant percentage of Black people from gaining training in higher education. Don’t try to say that I’m simply playing the race card either. Why else would people try to eliminate and defund HBCUs then?
HBCUs have proven to be excellent training grounds for preparing students to find and excel in jobs, careers, and graduate and professional schools. When you attend an HBCU, you will be taught by professors who are not all Black—there is diversity in the faculty. The staff is not all Black—HBCUs have diverse staffs. The students are not all Black either—just predominantly Black.
If you are a high school student looking to find a higher education institution that will prepare you for the future, I encourage you to consider one of the many fine HBCUs situated across America. I highly recommend that you look at attending Albany State University, Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Fisk University. I could list many other HBCUs, but begin with those schools first, especially Albany State University. You will have a campus experience that cannot be duplicated by a PWI—this is simply a fact!
I would also like to encourage all alumni of HBCUs to enthusiastically support your HBCU of choice economically, socially, academically, and professionally. It is really not a good look when many Black graduates of HBCUs try to hide the fact that they went to HBCUs with their current or past attendance of prestigious PWIs. For me, this equals racial self-loathing and self-hatred. Stop this today!
I encourage everyone to give to your nearest HBCU today!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison