Saturday, February 05, 2005

Historically Black Colleges

Today we're living in a time in which affirmitive action is under attack. Conservatives are having bake sales at colleges around the country and are starting white only scholarships. There are some points I want to discuss about HBCUs.

First, to be considered for admission to a school like Morehouse you are basically considered on an individual basis so that means no extra credit for being black. These schools were built to educate blacks. If you needed affirmitive action you'd have to be non-black.

Second, there are about 100+ HBCUs around the country. Look at this Yahoo listing. If you see the list disregard Chicago State University it just basically a university that happens to serve primarily a minority population it actually began as a teacher's college and no doubt it wasn't exactly designed to educate blacks. In any case it could be said HBCUs are no different than other schools designed for a particular community such as Whittier (Quakers), Augustana (Scandinavian), Notre Dame (Irish Catholic), Yeshiva (Jewish), Brigham Young (Mormon) to name a few.

Let me just state for the record that I may refer to Morehouse as a reparation . Let me explain that according to the history of Morehouse this institution was originally founded by white missionaries to train former slaves to be teachers and ministers. That fact isn't true of all HBCUs for instance Morris Brown College was actually founded by the African Methodist Episcopal church. Another case in point is Booker T. Washington's vision Tuskegee.

There is a downside though. Blacks don't support their schools as well as say alumnis of Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc would. I'm sure there's a good explanation but the primary reason that I've seen used is that the alumni of an HBCU may not make as much money as an alumni of an Ivy League school for instance. That may be true to an extent, but the fact remain that an HBCU college president like Dr. Walter Massey must continue to struggle to attain funding for their particular institutions. Not to say these schools are close to broke indeed Morehouse seems to be doing very well financially although they could stand to upgrade some of their facilities, however there are those who could use a boost.

Another downside is perhaps the reverse of lack of support from alumni. I'm reffering to enrolling students. At Morehouse at least from the information I found in a book which listed all the colleges in this country at least 85-90% of all students recieve financial aid. That could mean a majority are either poor, middle class, or someone is just taking out loans. Also there are those students who come here using their military benefits. Indeed most of those military students join an ROTC unit of which Morehouse has a Navy ROTC unit.

However Morehouse has still graduated a number of famous or accomplished alumni. I won't just single out Morehouse a few other HBCUs have graduated someone famous or accomplished whether they be in Hollywood, Radio, TV, journalism, writing, academia, ministers, etc. Could this mean that these guys and gals have made it without affirmitive action. I believe it can be done. It may also prove that one need not gov't funding to produce outstanding students even though some HBCUs are state sponsored.

There's one other item I'd like to share. I saw a program on C-Span a few years ago. It was at a college Republican meeting from Northwestern University in Chicago. A black Republican from I think Oakland, CA spoke to the group, he was the owner of a convienve store there and he talked about his college choices. He was accepted to Berkeley I believe but to the dismay of his parents and grandparents he had other ideas. He opted to go to a HBCU in Louisiana. I'm not sure what school it was but my guess is that it was Grambling State University.

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