The 20 Biggest Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America
There was a long time in the United States when many young people had no choice but to attend a college founded specifically to teach Black students, with the doors of other schools explicitly closed to them. The earliest of those universities were invaluable for educating Black communities.
Today, the overt racism and legal barriers may be gone, but historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) still play a vital and irreplaceable role in U.S. education. They value and honor African American heritage, provide a supportive environment -- especially for students who have coped with racism and minority status in their schools -- and make sure that disadvantaged and underserved communities have top-notch educational opportunities.
Their graduates include the earliest unsung teachers and nurses whose educations would make an historic difference to today's shining stars, such as the nation's first Black, and female, vice president, Kamala Harris. Others include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., poets Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes, writers Ralph Ellison and Alice Walker, artists Spike Lee and Lionel Richie, and author and activist W.E.B. Du Bois.