African American Culture and Heritage in Higher Education Research and Practice

By Kassie Freeman | Go to book overview

these schools. Indeed, a more culturally nuanced presentation of these multidimensional and diverse institutions is being demanded of higher education researchers and policy analysts. My intent, however, is to place this analysis at the center of a needed discourse on the construction, realities, and experiences of African American students attending a variety of HBCUs. For instance, particular attention should be paid to the distinction between public, private, religiously affiliated urban, and geographically diverse HBCUs. Although most HBCUs are located in the southeastern region of the nation, not all of them are. Almost 90 of the total HBCUs are four-year institutions, while the rest are two-year or community colleges. Not surprisingly, there is much variation among enrollment sizes: four-year schools range from fewer than 800 students to campuses exceeding 8,000 students ( Hoffman et al., 1992). A more critical reading of the role, function, and diversity of HBCUs will hopefully position our discourse on HBCUs more toward the center of research in higher education and make this discourse less marginalized in our theoretical understanding of the position of HBCUs in this chapter.

Within the current debate about the direction and mission of the nation's HBCUs, there appears to have surfaced a conflict between a legislative agenda and a cultural mandate for these institutions. Recent court rulings and litigation have been based on the elusive dreams of desegregating higher education institutions and creating universities that are truly "state"-controlled and -directed. Juxtaposed to these court directives, these institutions continue to adhere to community cultural mandates that focus their development and character on African American community needs and cultural experiences. While this conflict is yet to be resolved, the face of higher education in the country will never be the same, culturally or politically, with the inclusion and appreciation of HBCUs.


REFERENCES

Allen W. R. ( 1992). The color of success: African American college student outcomes at predominately White and historically Black college and universities. Harvard Educational Review, 62, 26-44.

Allen W. R., Epps E. G., & Haniff N. Z. ( 1991). College in Black and White: Africans students in predominately White and in historically Black public universities. Albany: SYNY Press.

Anderson J. D. ( 1988). The education of Blacks in the South 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Bourdieu P. ( 1973). Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In R. Brown (Ed)., Knowledge, education, and cultural change (pp. 71-112). London: Tavistock.

Bourdieu P. ( 1977). Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In J. Karabel & A. H. Halsey (Eds.), Power and ideology in education (pp. 487-511). New York: Oxford University Press.

Bourdieu P., & Passeron J. C. ( 1977). Reproduction in education, society, and culture. London: Sage.

Bourdieu P., & Passeron J. C. ( 1979). The inheritors: French students and their relation to culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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