Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States are characterized as enclaves of cultural connectedness and racial empowerment, while the federal definition of a HBCU is any institution that was founded prior to 1964 with the intent of primarily educating Black people. Though some HBCUs, such as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, and Wilberforce University, were founded prior to the Civil War, many were established after the war with the assistance of the Freedman’s Bureau, Black churches, Northern missionaries, and private philanthropists, such as the Slater Foundation, Lilly Foundation, and Carnegie Foundation. More than 200 HBCUs were founded in the South between 1865 and 1890. This entry provides an overview of HBCUs; discusses the impact of desegregation on higher education, ...

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