Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education

Synopsis

There are currently 109 historically black colleges and universities in the United States. Established before 1964, their mission was and continues to be the education of black Americans for service and leadership in the black community as well as the wider community. Ever since Lincoln University opened its doors in 1854, controversy has raged over separate black institutions of higher learning. Roebuck and Murty review the history of black colleges from the antebellum years (prior to 1865) to the present. They provide profiles of each of the major black universities from their founding until today, including their current student composition and faculty makeup. Reviewing the literature on race relations in college life, the authors describe tensions on white and black campuses as reported in journals and periodicals. They then analyze and interpret the results of their own empirical study of race relations on fifteen campuses in the southeastern United States. This is the first comprehensive coverage of the subject.

Excerpt

Since the late 1950s, the presence of black students and faculty has increased on predominantly white campuses as well as at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The dramatic increase of black students on white campuses has occurred with many attendant problems, as exemplified by the interracial adjustment problems occurring in the early 1990s on the campus at Stanford University. Some black and white educators maintain that the HBCUs' mission has been accomplished by providing higher education for blacks who by law and/or custom were barred from attending white private and public colleges and universities prior to 1954. They question the continued existence of HBCUs on grounds that they provide a two-tiered higher education system within an integrated society, which is counterproductive financially, philosophically, and pedagogically. On the other hand, HBCU advocates contend that racial segregation still persists and that HBCUs continue to perform functions unavailable on white campuses that are necessary for black youth. These proponents point out that HBCUs, unlike other colleges, are united in a mission to meet the educational and emotional needs of black students as well as the needs of the black community -- that is, the preparation of black youth for leadership roles and professional services in the black community. The issue evolving from these two positions has been exacerbated by the ongoing ugly and provocative racial incidents on white campuses since the late 1970s.

This book addresses the HBCU issue from a broad analytical perspective, including the history and development of HBCUs; the current description, structure, and functions of HBCUs; and HBCU campus race relations as disclosed by secondary sources and by our empirical study.

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