Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defined Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as those founded before 1964 with the mission of educating African Americans. At the outset, it is worth keeping in mind that HBCUs are distinct from predominantly Black colleges and universities, which serve large numbers of Black students but were not founded with the unique mission of HBCUs and do not share their federal designation. This entry reviews the history and status of HBCUs in the world of American higher education.

History of HBCUs

HBCUs were established to educate Blacks who could not gain admission to White colleges. Three HBCUs opened prior to the Civil War and are generally considered the first colleges established for African Americans: Cheyney University (1837) and Lincoln University (1854) ...

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