From ‘The Hidden Parts of My Soul’: Are HBCU’s Still Relevant and/or Necessary?

Big ups to GVG. I found his blog through PostBourgie, and it’s definitely a good read. It’s about time I found another Haitian in Blogland! (Big ups to Dirty Red and Luke Cage as well).

Back in December of ’07, GVG posted a blog entry about an article that he came across in The Wall Street Journal which questioned the relevance of HBCU’s in today’s society. The article starts off by mentioning that Fisk University (which happens to be my sister’s Alma mater) is in dire financial straits (along with Morris Brown College) and is considering selling a portion of its art collection to keep the school from sinking. The article then poses this question:

‘Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, should we still support an institution of higher education that is less than 1% white?’

(Here’s my comment from GVG’s page)

*jumping over from PostBourgie*
As a person that proudly attends Morgan State University as a Civil Engineering Major and as a future Howard University Civil Engineering Grad Student, I personally feel as if it is just as important for us to have our own institutions of higher learning as it would be for people of any other group (i.e. Mormons, Catholics, Hispanics, etc.) to have means to nurture and educate their own before throwing them out into the real world.

I personally feel as if in most cases, people want to obtain their post secondary education from a place that is similar to where and how they were raised. However, I do agree that there are times when blacks that live in majority non black surroundings want to attend HBCU’s for the quote en quote Black Experience because of a lack of one where they were raised.

Regardless of whether or not a school is <1% white or 4 Billion % white, schools that have bodies in the classrooms that are willing to learn should receive adequate funding and support from the proper channels. Of course, that is easier said than done in this day and age.

All people that want to learn should have proper means by which to do so. Should it matter if they attend an HBCU or a PWI (Primarily White Instituition)? HBCU’s were bred out of the segregation that was occuring in the deep south back in the mid to late 1800’s. Blacks were not allowed to attend PWI’s so they had to go out and start their own colleges. In this day and age, HBCU’s serve as a somewhat final support and learning system because as many of us already may know, once we enter the professional world, the lack of melanin will become more than obvious. Professors and counselors at Morgan’s School of Engineering have forewarned us that while we are in school, we should enjoy being around those that look like us whom also happen to share the same major because once we enter engineering jobs post graduation, we may be the only person of color in said place.

I cannot speak for others, but I do know that I am the type of person that will hustle (after I get over my initial lazy phase) so that I can get where I want to go. While living in Chicago during the beginning of planning on where I wanted to go to college, I wanted to apply to the following schools:

UIUC (The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Purdue University

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Marquette University

SIUC (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)

Morgan State University

When we moved back to Baltimore in 2002, and after being back in a more familiar setting, my prospective schools definitely changed, but was restrained because not many HBCU’s offered Architecture and Civil Engineering as majors. In January 2003, the list consisted of:

Howard University

Temple University

Morgan State University

Drexel University

University of Pennsylvania

City College of New York 

I applied to the first four schools on the list and was accepted at Howard University and Morgan State University but was left with a dilemma. Do I attend my first choice school (Howard) as an undecided major or do I attend my second choice aka my safety school (Morgan) already as a Civil Engineering Major? The decision was definitely a hard one to make, but at the end of the day, I believe I made the right choice. I may attend Morgan as an undergrad, but best believe I will be reapplying for admission to Howard as a Civil Engineering Grad Student, and as a student at their Law School hopefully (If I don’t pass out from sticker shock after looking at all of my financial aid bills).

The reason why you will never hear about schools such as Howard, Spelman or Morehouse going under financially (in most cases) is because of two main reasons. The College/University’s Endowment and support from it’s respective Alumni.

When those two things are lacking in addition to having little or no funding coming from federal and/or state sources, a school may end up in a situation akin to that of Morris Brown College or Fisk University.

Random Thought of the Moment: “Does Morgan have an Endowment Fund?”

The Song of the Moment: “My Soul Ain’t For Sale” by DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Raheem DeVaughn

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1 Response to From ‘The Hidden Parts of My Soul’: Are HBCU’s Still Relevant and/or Necessary?

  1. CreoleInDC says:

    Luke Cage is FABULOUS! You’re gonna love, love, LOVE him!

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