African American Culture and Heritage in Higher Education Research and Practice

By Kassie Freeman | Go to book overview

15
Higher Education Policies and Professional Education in American Black Colleges

Beverly Lindsay

When I was a doctoral student about 20 years ago, I closely examined the phenomenon of progressive education in American Black colleges and published one of my first refereed articles entitled, "Progressive Education and The Black College" ( Lindsay & Harris, 1977). Since that time, in the mid-1970s, I have continued to examine the particular roles and contributions of American historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which were largely creations after the conclusion of the American Civil War in the 1860s. Although a few HBCUs such as Lincoln University in Pennsylvania trace their origins prior to the 1860s, most began as secondary schools or teacher training institutions to provide education for former slaves. With few exceptions, the approximately 100 HBCUs are situated in the southern states ranging from border states such as Maryland and Kentucky, to those along the Atlantic seaboard, to the Gulf of Mexico, reaching Texas. Located in the geographical areas where over one-half of African Americans reside, the doors of HBCUs have constantly been open to all demographic groups.

This chapter focuses on the critical interactive linkages between higher education policies and the preparation of educators at specific American HBCUs. What I articulate are pivotal phenomena that portray the contemporary unique contributions of HBCUs to American higher education, while simultaneously responding to comprehensive state and national postsecondary policies and standards. These external policies influence internal institutional policies, which, in turn, impact external policies. In short, illuminating interactive nexuses is the conceptual underpinning of this chapter. Integral to my concluding discussion is the increasing importance of international matters.

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