Hucb And Pwi

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Black students' success at a HBCU vs. Predominantly White Institution

Table of Contents




Gender in the Faculty Ranks5

Predominantly White Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities6

Need of HBCUs6



Black students' success at a HBCU vs. Predominantly White Institution


There are a number of factors that affect the quality of a student's experience at an institution— not the least of which is race. For example, in any desegregated educational institution in America there is a persistent reality— Blacks and Whites in largely separate worlds (Steele, 1992). Black college students, on average, have higher attrition rates than their white counterparts and lower grade point averages. Differences in the levels of academic performance between Black and White students are often attributed to weaknesses in Black students? academic and personal orientations to college (Lemelle, 2002).

Historically black colleges and universities initially served as the main means for African Americans to pursue higher education. Even as the walls of segregation at majority institutions were broken down by the civil rights movement, black colleges and universities retained their importance as centers of African American heritage and identity.


In 1837 the Institute for Colored Youth (now, Cheyney University) was established by Richard Humphreys, a prominent Quaker. While Humphreys's school originally was for secondary education, in 1854 the all-male Ashmun Institute was founded in Lincoln, Pennsylvania, as the first college to offer degrees solely to African Americans. Two years later, Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, became the first coeducational black university. The year 1881 was notable for the establishment of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia (the first liberal-arts college for African American women), and Tuskegee University, in Tuskegee, Alabama (founded by Booker T. Washington as the Normal School for Colored Teachers). The first state-supported black college was the North Carolina College for Negroes (later known as North Carolina Central University), which opened in 1925. The establishment of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1944 greatly enhanced access to black colleges and universities by providing funds for deserving students. The UNCF is a consortium of forty-one historically black institutions of higher education, which has raised over one billion dollars for the private colleges and universities.

The evolution of black institutions of higher education mirrored larger disputes in the African American community. Many schools, such as Tuskegee and Hampton Institute (now, Hampton University), originally emphasized industrial training and integration. The leading proponent of this philosophy was Booker T. Washington, supported by white philanthropists who provided a significant proportion of the funding for the establishment of many black colleges and universities. In the early twentieth century a movement led by W. E. B. Du Bois gained ascendancy. Du Bois emphasized African American culture and history and was much more intellectually and politically militant than Washington and his supporters.


In the early 1970s, Patricia Gurin and Edgar Epps completed a research study that sought to understand the advantages and disadvantages gained by Black male and female students at HBCUs. Surveying 5,000 African American students, this study was comprehensive and its results ...