Students enriched at HBCUs

The establishment of historically black colleges and universities was said to have provided higher education for blacks during a time of racial inequality.

Today, black college-bound students have the option of going to the school of their choice without the restraints of segregation, but still face the decision of what college is right for them.

Some say they chose Historically Black Colleges and Universities because of the cultural experience. Others chose to attend predominately white schools to keep from getting sidetracked at HBCUs.

FAMU, along with more than 115 other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is a part of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

According to, only about 20 percent of all black students in America attend NAFEO institutes. But NAFEO schools produce the largest number of black graduates who obtain higher degrees.

Although Charita King, a transfer student, is unhappy with FAMU’s administration, she said enjoys the knowledge and the type of courses offered here.

“The education I got from TCC is not as rich,” said King, a 23-year-old senior English student from Gainesville. “The only class pertaining to black history was black history (taught) by a white teacher.”

King said FAMU opened her eyes to something she did not see at a white school.

“I have learned here. Black people can be more educated,” King said.

“White schools did not paint that picture.”

Going to a predominately white school and being a minority student is not a problem for some students.

Keosha Parham, a student at FSU, has wanted to attend the university since she could remember.

“It’s where I wanted to go since I was a little girl,” said Parham, a freshman biology student from Lakeland.

There are other reasons Parham decided to attend a predominately white school rather than an HBCU.

Parham said she liked the idea of FSU being a diverse school. But a more important factor than diversity was how an HBCU would affect her academic life.

“I didn’t want to go to an all-black school,” Parham said. “I felt that if I went to an all-black school, I might get sidetracked.”

Another deciding factor in choosing to go to school with nearly all black people is being raised around nearly all white people.

After growing up in Knoxville, Tenn., Cameron Walls, 21, felt he hadn’t been around enough black people. So when the time came to choose a college, the senior business marketing student had only HBCUs in mind.

“The FSU people didn’t have time (to show me around),” said Walls, who came after business hours. “The people at FAMU went out of their way to make time.”

Walls’ brother, Matthew Walls, got sidetracked at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He later transferred to an HBCU.

“White people kind of abuse their college experience more than black people,” Walls said.

“He might be able to get all A’s this semester whereas he took 17 hours at UTC and failed them all.”

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at