History of HBCUs
A lack of higher education opportunities for Black students led to the establishment of HBCU colleges in the early 19th century. These colleges and universities were created to provide undergraduate and graduate-level education for the Black community at a time when other educational institutions were not available to them. What began in Pennsylvania in 1837 with Cheyney University has grown to more than 100 HBCU post-secondary institutions.
Throughout the past two centuries, HBCUs have helped prepare students for excellence and success. Notable graduates of HBCUs include social rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, Vice President Kamala Harris and talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey.
According to 2019 congressional testimony, despite only educating 10% of Black college students, HBCUs support:
- 27% of all Black American STEM graduates
- 40% of all Black American engineers
- 50% of all Black American lawyers
- 50% of all Black American public school teachers
- 80% of all Black American judges