Why HBCUs are a haven for black students

Columnist Gabrielle Hall

Historically black colleges and universities are as important today as they were after the civil war, which is when most HBCUs were founded. The purpose of HBCUs was clear in the 1800s, but the truth is that they serve a much bigger purpose.

HBCUs have become a haven of love, support, and belonging for black students and other students of color. 

The history of HBCUs is rich in culture and in black excellence. Some of the most successful black professionals graduated from an HBCU. Do you know why? Because an HBCU is a place where they can thrive knowing that they have continuous support, even after they leave the university. 

Coming to an HBCU will help foster the person you are destined to become. Being black in America is an ongoing struggle, but at an HBCU, the struggles we face become our driving force to show America that we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams come to life. Alumni and current students will surely agree. 

Omari Neal, a senior communications student with a minor in business at Tuskegee University said her decision to attend an HBCU was influenced by the HBCU graduates around her. 

“Growing up, I was surrounded by HBCU graduates that discussed how their HBCU impacted them in such a way no PWI could,” Neal said. “The professors who actually cared shaped not just their knowledge, but the whole individual.” 

This support continues outside of the classroom. Life at an HBCU is more than ordinary. The students you meet, the mentors you gain, and the activities you become involved in gives you a sense of belonging. 

Brionne Carroll, a junior psychology student at Southern University A&M College said her experience has been lovely thus far. 

“I wouldn’t ask for anything else,” Carroll said. “From the environment to the people, to the education, it’s just a wonderful experience.” 

Though college is hard enough as it is, between family life, schoolwork, involvement, and personal mishaps, you can always have someone there to help you discover the silver lining. 

Morgan Pinnock, a junior pre-physical therapy student at Florida A&M University said the mentorship she’s received since being at FAMU has helped her grow as an individual. 

“An HBCU gives you that certain kick to further your life to grow,” Pinnock said. “Being a mentor and also getting a mentor from BSLS- FAMU, in general, has gotten me to break out of my shell that I didn’t know I had.” 

As for leaving an HBCU, many students and alumni would agree that they wouldn’t change their experience for the world. At an HBCU you’re not only getting the college experience, but you’re also getting the experience of being young and black, black and heard, black and successful, black and legendary. 

“FAMU has made me the woman I am today and it’s only up from here,” Pinnock said.