HBCUs have always been the vehicles for liberty and equality in the journey toward black liberation within America.
Black Americans have long understood the relationship between education and democracy. Following the Civil War, learning the rules of the American and southern political economy was necessary to take full advantage of one’s citizenship rights.
However, at the time, not only did most people believe the formerly enslaved had no desire for education.
The fervent efforts of the formerly enslaved to establish colleges in the post-bellum South ran counter to these beliefs, although the founding of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1854, even prior to the Civil War’s conclusion, proved beyond doubt that black Americans were keen to seek education.
The point is, HBCUs played a crucial role in transforming how America was to understand and envision what it meant to be black following the Civil War. And throughout the years, these schools have served as incubators for future generations of freedom fighters.
It was HBCUs, for example, where the carefully crafted educational strategies that birthed the mass protests and civil unrest of the 1950s and 1960s emerged, a fact that many people today may fail to appreciate adequately.
Contributions of black colleges
HBCUs influenced the character of the black liberation struggle. They trained the leaders and served as key sites of exchange where ideals about the best paths toward freedom took shape.
Without this school, our understanding of equality and access would be quite different.
It was Howard graduates who would use the law to challenge the idea that separate educational facilities could ever produce equal outcomes for black Americans.