The Living Legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

By Hrabowski, Freeman A., III | Black Issues in Higher Education, July 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

The Living Legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Hrabowski, Freeman A., III, Black Issues in Higher Education


I recently had the honor of speaking to this year's graduates of Hampton University at the school's 134th commencement exercises. As a 1970 Hampton alumnus and president for the past 10 years of a predominantly White university, I have gained valuable perspective on what leaders of universities like mine can learn from historically Black colleges and universities.

While more than 80 percent of African American college students are now enrolled in predominantly White institutions, HBCUs continue to account for more than a quarter of the nation's African American college graduates. Even more important, these institutions have demonstrated long-term success in educating the majority of America's Black leaders, and they have many lessons to teach -- lessons that pertain chiefly to the value of having a rich history of educating African Americans, of being sensitive to their needs and diverse backgrounds, and of developing a sense of loyalty among students, faculty, staff and alumni. The future of African American higher education will depend upon the strong commitment of all types of institutions to these students.

Returning to Hampton, I was struck by the fact that the nation still does not fully understand, or appreciate, how instrumental HBCUs have been in transforming the lives of millions of Americans for more than a century. Throughout the 20th century, we have seen thousands upon thousands of African Americans graduating from HBCUs as the first member of their families to attend college, with many becoming leaders in their professions and communities, and inspiring others to go to college. Those of us in higher education sometimes forget how important the occasion of commencement is to students, their families and the campus community. For some, it is an opportunity to celebrate the first person in their family attending and completing college. For others, it is about building on the legacy of those who have gone there before. In all cases, commencement symbolizes our hope for the next generation.

It was a particularly special honor for me to speak at Hampton because one of my heroes, another Hampton alumnus and college president, Booker T. Washington, had spoken there at two prior commencements -- as a graduate in 1875, when he debated with a fellow graduate on the annexation of Cuba (a hot international topic 127 years ago), and in 1879 (two years before going to Tuskegee), when his address to graduates was entitled "The Force That Wins." As I speak to students and educators around the country, I often talk about the power of the individual and the human spirit, and of an individual's power to motivate and inspire others to set and achieve high goals.

As I talked with members of the graduating class, with other Hamptonians, and with the university's president Dr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Living Legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.